Restrictions on Access

Access to birth records

If a birth record is over 100 years old it is open and accessible. If a birth record is less than 100 years old, access can be very complicated because it can contain information relating to three different individuals:

  • Mother
  • Baby
  • Father (the father is not always recorded)

Each individual is considered separately in terms of access.


For example, if you want to access your own birth record, you are entitled under Data Protection legislation to see your own information, but to access the information relating to each of your parents, you must have their permission. If they are deceased, and you can provide proof of this, we can apply for access to their information on your behalf. The NHS Lothian Director of Public Health will make a decision granting or denying access; access is not guaranteed.


LHSA is not able to help an individual to trace their own birth parents. Without a living individual's permission, or proof of an individual's death, it is not possible to disclose any information relating to them.


LHSA is not able to disclose the details of a birth to a third party unless permission is given by all individuals concerned (mother, baby and father if mentioned).


For advice on tracing individuals separated by adoption, please contact Birthlink, a registered charity offering a range of services for people separated by adoption with a Scottish connection.