Birth Records

*To ensure same day service of Vital Records, you must be in the office by 3:30pm.*

Birth Certificates for travel, employment, school, sports, social security etc… To obtain a raised seal, certified copy of your birth certificate you can write to us or come into the office. However there are certain records we do not have:

  • Were you born in Polk County? (We have Polk County records only.)
  • Were your parents married at the time of your birth? (We do not have single parent births, prior to Jan 1986.)
  • Were you adopted? (We will not have your record if you were adopted.)
  • Were you born in 1921 thru 1941? (We do not have these records.)

For the records we do not have, you may contact the Iowa Department of Public Health. You can call them at (515) 281-4944.

You may use the "Request a copy of a county Vital Record" form provided below*, to write to us or come in and see us. A fee of $15.00 is required for each request. Cash, Credit Card (Mastercard, Visa, Discover), check or money orders are accepted.

Mail your request and photocopy of your ID to:

Polk County Recorder
Attn: Vital Records
111 Court Avenue Suite 245
Des Moines IA 50309-2251

Once we receive your request we'll mail it out the following day.

How to request a commemorative birth certificate

The Iowa Department of Public Health is pleased to offer Iowa-born citizens the opportunity to obtain commemorative certificates of their birth record. The commemorative birth certificate makes a memorable keepsake or gift.

This parchment certificate features a gold foil border, image of the state capital of Iowa, and calligraphy print of the individual’s personal information. Gold embossed State and Iowa Department of Public Health seals make it a valid certified copy and legal document. Each certificate is signed by both the Governor of Iowa and the State Registrar. Its 8-1/2” x 11” size is suitable for framing.

Certificates are delivered in protective envelopes within 30 days of application. All applicants must meet the same qualifying direct-and-tangible interest standards (i.e., immediate family) as for any certified birth certificate request. Submit each fully completed application form with $35 (check or money order) to:

Iowa Department of Public Health
Bureau of Vital Statistics
Lucas State Office Building, 1st Floor
Des Moines, Iowa 50319-0075


The information on the form must be completed in order to make application for the Iowa commemorative birth certificate. Registration of births in Iowa officially began July 1, 1880. The original records of all births registered in Iowa are maintained in the Bureau of Health Statistics, Iowa Department of Public Health.

The $35 fee for the commemorative birth certificate includes the search for the record and one commemorative certificate. If the record is not located, the applicant will receive a notification of the record search results and a $20 refund, with $15 retained in this office to cover the cost of the search as required by statute.

Each additional commemorative certificate for the same record is $35 and can be ordered on the same application form.

We are open to the public 8:00am - 4:30pm Monday thru Friday. For same day service of Vital Records you must be in the office by 3:30pm. Passports are by appointment only. Call 515-286-3160 with any questions or to set up an appointment.