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Register a stillbirth

How to register a stillbirth

When a child is stillborn, a doctor or midwife issues a Medical Certificate of Stillbirth. The person registering the stillbirth must bring this to the register office.

Every stillbirth must be registered:

  • within three months
  • in the district in which it took place

Who can register a stillbirth

If the baby’s parents are married, either the mother or father can register.

The mother can sign if:

  • the baby’s parents aren’t married
  • the father can’t be traced or is unknown

If both parents want the father’s name in the register:

  • both parents can sign the register together
  • the mother can sign and bring a ‘signed declaration’ form (available at the register office) from the father

If the father registers the stillbirth and the parents aren’t married, the mother must complete a ‘signed declaration’ form.

If the parents can't register the stillbirth, we can accept registration from:

  • the occupier of the house where the stillbirth happened
  • a person present at the stillbirth
  • a person responsible for the stillborn child, for example, a coroner’s officer
  • the person who found the stillborn child (where the date and location of aren't known)

Information to bring

We'll need information on the child, including the:

  • date and place of stillbirth
  • sex of the child
  • first names and surname (if you want to name the child)

We'll need information on the child, including the:

  • first names and surname
  • date and place of birth
  • occupation at the time of the stillbirth (if unemployed, give the last occupation)

We'll need information on the mother, including the:

  • first names and surname
  • maiden name (if married or previously married)
  • date and place of birth
  • occupation at the time of the stillbirth (if unemployed, give the last occupation)
  • usual address at the time of the stillbirth
  • date of marriage (if married to the stillborn’s father at the time)

What we'll give you

We'll give you (or the person who registers) a:

  • certificate of registration - free of charge and issued to the person who registers the stillbirth
  • stillbirth certificate - can be bought any time, but the father can only buy this if his details are in the register
  • certificate of burial or cremation - normally passed to the person organising the funeral

A funeral can only take place once this certificate of burial or cremation is given to the burial authority or the crematorium.

If there's a delay with the registration and the stillbirth doesn't need to be reported to the Coroner, the certificate can be issued before the stillbirth is registered.

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