News10NBC Investigates: Midnight birth leads to year-long battle over birthdate

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — A baby girl from Rochester will celebrate her first birthday next week, but her family just isn’t sure which day that will be. A midnight birth has led to a year-long battle over the birth date.

Baby Ariya made an unscheduled entrance into the world nearly a year ago at Strong Memorial Hospital.

“Her head was out at 11:59 p.m., her body was out at midnight, they said they go by body time for when babies are born,” her mom, Ivy, said, “so, a nurse told me, she’s born exactly at midnight you get to pick if you want the 25th or 26th of April and so we picked the 26th of April because for clocks, and New Year’s Eve and everything else midnight is the start of a new day.”

The footprints are dated April 26 at 12 a.m., Ariya’s baby bracelet had the same date.

“With COVID you have to now submit your birth certificate information through email, so we emailed them all that information and filled out the paternity paperwork for the 26th of April because that was her birthday,” Ivy recalled.

But when the birth certificate arrived a few months later, it was dated April 25 without the baby’s father listed on it. Ivy called Strong and was told she shouldn’t have been given a choice, the baby’s birthday was April 25 and her father needed to resubmit the paperwork with that date on it if he wanted to be listed on the birth certificate.

Ivy called patient relations who directed her to the data integrity team at Strong. She asked them to reconsider which they did

“They confirmed my change and said my daughter’s birthday would be April 26 at 12:01 so I have that written letter,” she said.

Ivy provided a copy of the letter to News10NBC and it clearly reads, “We have accepted your request for amendment… the delivery date and time for Ariya has been amended to reflect 4/26/2021.”

A few months later though, another email came from the birth certificate office at Strong.

“They are saying that per DOH guidelines, midnight belongs to the day before and therefore it would be switched back to April 25,” Ivy said.

Why does it matter which day it is?

“Well, now that it’s a year later, everybody knows her birthday, it’s on most of her legal documents, she’s signed up with daycare with that birthday, the doctor, it has affected a lot of other things like our health insurance, sometimes they deny coverage based on all of this because the dates don’t line up,” Ivy said.

In a statement, a spokesman for UR Medicine tells News10NBC, “New York State Vital Records provides no flexibility and defines 12:00am as belonging to the day that is ending for the purposes of identifying date of birth. We regret that some UR Medicine staff members mistakenly suggested otherwise in attempting to accommodate the mother’s preferred birth date, and have since worked with her to submit proper documentation to the state and Monroe County. We have apologized for the inconvenience and wish Ariya a happy and healthy first birthday with her family.”