A friend was over last tonight and we were talking about birth registration and birth certificates when you have an unassisted pregnancy and birth in British Columbia. I thought it might be worth sharing what is required in case anyone is looking for this information.
There is nothing illegal about birthing unassisted here in BC. In fact, Vital Statistics has a birth “package” for parents who have not or will not be using a birth attendant. They may have these packages available at a local access centre or they can mail it to you upon request. This package includes the usual birth registration forms, a msp form (which you can’t fill out until you have a birth certificate if you choose UC) and instructions with the requirements needed to successfully gain a birth certificate for your child and two blank affidavits.
The requirements needed are:
*Two Statutory Declarations by two individuals not related to the parents who can attest to the pregnancy and birth of the baby. While I’m sure they would prefer these people to have witnessed the birth that’s not necessary or even possible if you choose to birth alone. I had two friends sign these affidavits who saw that I was pregnant and my son shortly after he was born. One of them also saw some of the birth video footage I took. These affidavits must include the date and place of the child’s birth, the child’s full name, the mother’s full name including her maiden name, the name and address of the person making the statutory declaration and a statement that the person was present or had knowledge of the birth.
This needs to be signed before a government agent for a cost of $17. You can do this at your local access centre.
You also need:
*Statement by a licensed medical practitioner who can confirm that a medical examination of the mother and child was made shortly after the birth of the child with full name of mother including surname, sex of child, date and place of child’s birth.
OR a combination (not all are needed) of the following:
*Proof of prenatal or postnatal care by a licensed medical practitioner
*Proof of pregnancy
*Proof of residency in BC
*Proof of medical supply purchases directly related to the birth
I chose not to see a “medical practitioner” before or after the birth. Instead I sent a copy of a bill with my name and address included and copies of visa statements with all the supplies I purchased highlighted. Vital Statistics loves as much proof as possible so my husband’s boss also sent a statement explaining that the night my son was born my husband left work to witness the birth and called immediately afterwards with the good news. A co worker sent a similar letter. I also wrote a letter that I may share on the more private space of my blog because of it’s personal nature.
At the time when I was registering my son’s birth the requirements were changing so the process took longer for me to get through than normal. When I was first sent the package, two months before I gave birth, all I needed was two witnessed affidavits. I ended up talking to Vital Statistics more times than I would have wanted to. Everyone I talked to was kind and helpful once they got past the initial “You didn’t see a doctor? But how did you know you were pregnant?!” type statements. They may not understand why I chose to birth this way but what they personally think is really irrelevant- they need to help me register my baby so I can get a birth certificate.
Vital Statistics Agency
PO Box 9657 Stn Prov Govt
Victoria, BC V8W 9P3