Access to Birth Records

If you were adopted through a court in England or Wales and are aged 18 years or over the law allows you to gain access to your birth details.  These details will enable you to purchase a copy of your original birth certificate.

People adopted prior to 12 November 1975

If you were adopted before 12 November 1975 you are required to receive this information from an approved adoption advisor.  This can be an adoption advisor from your own local authority, at the Identity and Passport Office (General Registry Office) in Southport, an approved intermediary agency or, in certain cases the adoption agency that arranged your adoption.  The adoption advisor will be able to offer practical advice and guidance as well as talking to you about any concerns or issues that are important to you. 

The adoption advisor will give you a form showing your birth name, birth parent(s) names and your district of birth.  You can use this form to purchase a certified copy of your original birth certificate.

Information is also provided about which court granted your Adoption Order and this may enable the adoption advisor to find out which adoption agency was involved in arranging your adoption and then try to see if any adoption file exists for you.  If it does you will be allowed to access some of the information it contains if this is what you would wish.

There can be no guarantee as to how much information exists as up until the 1970s adoption could be arranged privately as well as through an official adoption agency.  Before 1984 adoption agencies were only required to keep records for 25 years.

Adoptions after 12 November 1975

If you were adopted after the 12 November 1975 you can make the choice as to whether you would like to see an approved adoption advisor or have the information sent directly to you.

  • If you choose to see an adoption advisor they can approach the adoption agency that arranged your adoption to ask for the information from your adoption file. 
  • If you choose not to be seen by an adoption advisor the forms will be sent directly to you with a letter explaining the next steps to follow.

Adoptions after 30 December 2005

An adopted person aged 18 years or over can gain access to their birth details through the agency or social services that dealt with their adoption.

If the name of the agency or social services is not known the adopted person can contact the Identity and Passport Office (General Registry Office) for this information.

How to apply for access to your Birth Records

Application forms and further information can be found on the Gov.UK website, please click here to visit the web site.

Alternatively forms and booklets are available from:

General Registry Office,
Identity and Passport Service,
Smedley Hydro,
Trafalgar Road,

Telephone: 0151 471 4830


Adoption information and intermediary services for adopted people and birth relatives

Intermediary agencies may be approached by adopted people or birth relatives, aged 18 years or over, to help pass on their wishes for some form of contact.

To offer this service an agency has to be registered with the organisation that inspects them. At this current time the Isle of Wight adoption service is not registered to offer this service but can give advice on agencies that are.

Adoption contact register

Adopted people and their birth relatives can register their wish to have contact.  This service is run by the Registrar General who can be contacted on the details listed above.  It is also possible to register a wish for no contact either with everybody or specific individuals.