Is My Blood Type on My Birth Certificate?

By Anjannette ConnerLast Updated Jun 29, 2020 10:15:31 AM ET
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If you were born in the United States, then the state you were born in created a record of your birth and stored it with all the state’s other vital records. For convenience, all the key information related to individual births in America are easily accessible by obtaining a birth certificate. These important documents are a key component in establishing and proving identity in the U.S. You will need a copy of your birth certificate to apply for a driver’s license, U.S. passport, social security card (at least the first time), marriage license (some states) and certain jobs. It’s also common for schools and sports leagues to ask for birth certificates to confirm age.

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Your birth certificate has a lot of personal information on it and should be safeguarded. If you lose it or someone steals it, it could put you at risk of becoming a victim of identity theft. The exact information on a birth certificate can vary slightly from state to state, but most states have a lot of the same key details about your birth. 

Unfortunately, if you don’t know your blood type and hope your birth certificate will solve the mystery — it won’t. Your blood type is one important detail that isn’t included in your vital statistics, but that doesn’t mean you’re out of options. Let’s take a look at what you need to know about determining your blood type and what you can expect to find on your birth certificate.


Vital Statistics on Birth Certificates

Your state’s vital records office can tell you exactly what is included on the state’s birth certificates. In all cases, the birth certificate includes the full names of both parents (if known), the baby’s full name, gender, date of birth and place of birth (usually noted as county and state). Certified copies — the only type accepted for legal purposes — will always contain the official embossed city, county or state seal. Informational copies don’t contain this seal and are usually issued by hospitals and not state or county offices.

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In most cases, birth certificates also include the mother's maiden name and her age and birth location, the father’s age and birth location, time of birth, type of birth (single, twins, etc.), parents’ address, and city, county and state of birth. Additional details for some states include race, hospital and the name of the physician who delivered the baby. The record of live birth also has a record number assigned by the registrar. In some instances, a baby's hand or footprint is also included on the birth certificate, although this is much more common on keepsake certificates produced by hospitals. Surprisingly, the baby’s birth weight is not usually included on a birth certificate.

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Certified Copies of Birth Certificates

Birth certificates are public records and can be obtained from the registrar's office in the county where the birth took place. In most cases, the registrar charges a fee for certified copies of birth certificates. Most states and counties have transitioned all their records to digital records, making it possible to order certified copies of birth certificates online in most cases. The USA.gov website provides links to different states’ information in one convenient location.

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Different Blood Types

If you prick your finger, your blood doesn’t look any different than anyone else’s blood, but that all changes at a cellular level. Antigens activate immune responses to foreign substances in your body, and your blood type depends on whether you have or don’t have certain antigens. The four major blood groups — A, B, AB and O — contain different combinations of the two antigens, A and B. Additionally, the Rhesus (Rh) factor protein is either present (positive) or absent (negative) in your blood.

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Type A blood only has the A antigen present in red blood cells, while Type B blood only has the B antigen in red blood cells. However, in the blood’s plasma, this reverses for antibodies, and Type A has B antibodies, while Type B has A antibodies. Type AB blood has both A and B antigens in the red blood cells but neither type of antibody is present in the blood’s plasma. Type O flips the AB composition around and has A and B antibodies in the plasma but neither type of antigen in the red blood cells.

You inherit your blood type based on the blood types of your parents, but at least two possible outcomes could occur in most cases, with two notable exceptions. When both parents are Type O, then the child will only be Type O. When one parent is Type A and the other is Type B, the child could have any of the four blood types. Type O Positive is the most common blood type, accounting for 37% of the Caucasian population, 47% of African Americans, 39% of Asians and 53% of Latinos. Known as the universal donor, Type O Negative blood can be transfused into patients with any blood type. Unfortunately, this blood type isn’t common, only accounting for 8% of Caucasians, 4% of African Americans, 1% of Asians and 4% of Latinos.

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The Importance of Blood Type

In the U.S., a surprising number of people don’t know their blood type. For the most part, your blood type doesn’t affect anything besides determining the type of blood you would need in a transfusion. Your letter type and Rh factor determine which blood types you can receive in a transfusion. Rh negative blood can transfer to both negative and positive blood types, but Rh positive must match with positive. That means all blood types can receive Type O Negative — thus the universal donor designation — and all positive blood types can receive Type O Positive. Type AB can only be given to Type AB, but both Type A and Type B can be given to both Type A and Type B.

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Although it may worry you to realize you can’t quickly blurt your blood type in a crisis, it really isn’t a dangerous problem. When time is too short for testing in the middle of an emergency, doctors can use universal donor blood (O Negative) to save lives. However, peace of mind is never a bad thing, and learning your blood type isn’t difficult.

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Testing Your Blood Type

If you donate blood frequently, the blood bank already has a record of your blood type. If you’ve never donated before, it’s a worthy and much-needed donation that also leaves you with the opportunity to ask about your blood type for free. You could also schedule an appointment with your physician, but the cost will stack up once you pay for the office visit and then the lab work. If you’re not squeamish and feel a bit brave, you can order a DIY blood testing kit online to learn your blood type quickly — once the test arrives, of course.

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