Registering a Stillborn Baby

We understand that it can be very daunting to have to face registering a stillbirth. This page will give you step-by-step guidance on what is required and what is involved - but if you would rather speak to someone personally, please contact your local register office, in the Royal Borough telephone 01628 796422.

What is the legal definition of a stillbirth?

A stillborn child is legally defined as a child born after the 24th week of pregnancy who did not show any signs of life after being born.

Why is registration necessary?

Stillbirth registration began in 1927 to help protect infant life. As well as being an important source of historical and statistical information, it gives the parents the opportunity to have their child officially acknowledged and to give him or her names if they wish to.

Who should register?

It all depends if the parents were married to each other at the time of the stillbirth or conception. If they were then either the mother or father can go to register. If they weren't then who goes will depend on a number of factors:

  • if you want the father's details to be entered in the register, then both parents can go and sign the stillbirth register together

  • if the father is unable to go to the register office with the mother, but you still want his details included, then he can make a statutory declaration on form 16 (available from the register office) acknowledging his paternity which the mother must give to the registrar

  • if the mother is unable to go to the register office with the father, she may make a statutory declaration acknowledging the father's paternity on the same form as above which the father must give to the registrar

  • If the father's details are not recorded in the stillbirth register, it may be possible for the stillbirth to be re-registered at a later date, please contact the register office 01628 796422 for details of this procedure.

Although the majority of stillbirths are registered by parents, sometimes neither the mother or father are able to attend. In this case, registration can be done by whichever of the following people is best able to do so:

  • the occupier of the house or manager of the hospital where the birth took place
  • someone who was present at the stillbirth
  • someone who is responsible for the stillborn child
  • the person who found the stillborn child (where the date and place of the stillbirth are unknown)

When and where do I go to register?

Stillbirths should normally be registered within 42 days.

The stillbirth will normally be registered at the office for the district in which it happened - or another one if it is more convenient. Remember that things take a bit longer if you go to an office out of the district because the registrar will need to forward your information to the original district who will then post any certificates to you.

What documents do I need?

All you need to take is the medical certificate of the stillbirth issued by the doctor or midwife present at the time (and form 16 if you need one).

What information will I be asked for?

The registrar will ask for the following details:

Child

  • the forename(s) and surname, if the parents wish to name the stillborn child
  • date and place of stillbirth
  • the sex of the child

Father

  • forename(s) and surname
  • date and place of birth
  • occupation

Mother

  • forename(s) and surname
  • maiden surname if the mother is, or has been, married
  • date and place of birth
  • occupation
  • usual address at the time of the stillbirth
  • date of marriage, if married to the stillborn child's father at the time of the stillbirth
  • number of previous children by the present husband and by any former husband

It is very important that all the information recorded in the register is completely correct as mistakes can take quite a bit of time to put right. This is why the person registering should check the information very carefully before signing the entry.

How do I obtain a certificate for an historic stillbirth entry?

Due to the sensitive nature of stillbirth registrations, the procedure for ordering copy certificates differs from other types of certificates. Apart from very recent events, the General Register Office holds records of all stillbirths registered in England and Wales since 1st July 1927. Certified copies of these records can only be obtained with the Registrar General's consent. The following conditions apply:-

  • a certificate will only be issued to the mother or father of a stillborn child.
  • siblings may apply if their mother and father are no longer alive. They should send details of their parents' dates of death with their application.
  • Still birth certificates can only be obtained from the General Register Office in Southport.

If you want more information telephone, write to or log on to the General Register Office website.

General Register Office
PO Box 2
Southport
Merseyside PR8 2JD

Tel: +44 (0)300 123 1837


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Modified: 2013-06-14
Published: Tue, 08 Jul 2014 13:16:12
Author: Allison Helyer
Editor: Allison.Helyer
LGSL PID: 322
RDCMS ID: 5950
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