New Birth Certificate Policy in Effect

Rights to obtain copies of original Illinois birth certificates of adopted or surrendered adults age 21 and over have changed, now allowing greater availability to these important documents. Prior to this change, original birth certificates of these persons born were “impounded,” and not released without a court order.

Under Illinois law enacted May 21, 2010, rights to access copies of original birth certificate of adopted or surrendered persons differs for those who were born in Illinois prior to January 1, 1946, and for those born January 1, 1946, and after.  Beginning May 21, 2010 adopted or surrendered persons born in Illinois prior to January 1, 1946, were granted an unqualified right to receive, after completing an application, an unaltered, non-certified copy of his or her original birth certificate.

As of November 15, 2011, adopted or surrendered adults age 21 and over who were born in Illinois on or after January 1, 1946, have a “qualified right” to receive, after completing an application, a non-certified copy of his or her original birth certificate. Birth parents of these persons have a right to block release of her or his identifying information. If the birth parent files the required form denying release prior to a filed application for a non-certified copy of original birth certificate, then identifying data of that birth parent is “redacted” from applicants’ non-certified copy of his or her original birth certificate.

In addition, a surviving spouse, surviving adult children and adult siblings of a deceased adopted or surrendered person may also apply for a copy of a relative’s original birth certificate using forms provided in the department’s web site.  All applications must be submitted to the Adoption Registry and Medical Information Exchange at Springfield office of Illinois Department of Public Health using forms found online at

“Granting adopted and surrendered adults access to their original birth certificates is an effective method of assisting them in their personal searches for biological family information, for updated health and genetic information as well as for an option of personal contact with biological family members,” says Sally Wildman, a Chicago and Northbrook attorney whose practice is focused on adoption of children. “Full access to disclosure of identifying information without limits from biological parents' right to deny disclosure and also to deny direct contact is sought by those who face this obstacle. Some states grant full access to original birth certificates of adopted and surrendered persons born in those states.”

For additional information, contact Vicki Beard at the Illinois Department of Public Health at 877-323-5299. Sally Wildman may be reached at 312-726-9214 or

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