Birth Defects Registry - Continued

Definition of Birth Defects

Birth defects are structural changes present at birth that can affect almost any part or parts of the body (e.g., heart, brain, foot). They may affect how the body looks, works, or both. Birth defects can vary from mild to severe. The well-being of each child affected with a birth defect depends mostly on which organ or body part is involved and how much it is affected.  A birth defect can be found before birth, at birth, or any time after birth. Most birth defects are found within the first year of life. Some birth defects (such as cleft lip) are easy to see, but others (such as heart defects or hearing loss) are found using special tests, such as echocardiograms (an ultrasound picture of the heart), x-rays or hearing tests.  For some birth defects, like fetal alcohol syndrome, we know the cause. But for most birth defects, we don’t know what causes them. For most birth defects, we think they are caused by a complex mix of factors. These factors include our genes (information inherited from our parents), our behaviors, and things in the environment.

For more information on birth defects, please take a look at our brochure.

How to Register a Child

1. Register a child with a birth defect that is diagnosed, being ruled out, or pending 

2. Register a child through the 5th year of life

3. Be a resident of the State of New Jersey 

Children can be registered by using the electronic reporting system which is a state installed virtual private network (VPN) which can be installed on multiple users’ computers within one institution.  Hospitals designate.  In each hospital/agency, a staff member to administer the electronic system and that administrator authorizes hospital/agency users.  A paper registration can be used to register a child ONLY if there is no access to an electronic system.  To request installation for the electronic system, email the New Jersey Birth Defects Registry at

The staff of the New Jersey Birth Defects Registry will assist Hospitals/agencies and their satellites in providing new users or other staff in training on the use of the electronic system for entering information into the database. 

Facilities that do not have access to the electronic system can access the SCH-0 form on the BDR website.  Instructions are provided to help guide the reporting facility in completing the form. 

Paper forms can be mailed or faxed to:

The New Jersey Birth Defects Registry
Department of Health
Division of Family Health Services
P.O. Box 364
Trenton, N.J., 08625
Fax: (609) 292-8235

Reportable conditions are found in the ICD 9 CM and ICD-10 CM codes with diagnostic descriptions provided.  Please note that there are exclusions for some conditions that do not need to be reported.

Last Reviewed: 1/16/2019