Registering a stillbirth
We understand that it can be very daunting to have to face registering a stillbirth. This page will give you a step by step guidance on what you need to do. If you would rather speak to someone personally, please use the contact details at the bottom of this page.
What is the legal definition of a still birth?
A still born 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 a name if they wish to.
Who should register?
Either the mother or the father may register the still-birth provided they were married to each other at the time of the still-birth.
If the parents of the child were not married to each other at the time of the still-birth the following will apply:
Information about the mother will always be included in the register
Information about the father can only be included in the register if both the mother and the father attend the register office together and sign the register together or if either parent attends with a statutory declaration acknowledging parentage from the other partner.
If it is difficult for the parents to attend to register the still-birth, other people may be able to attend and provide the information. This might include people in authority from the hospital where the still-birth took place. Please contact us for further information.
When and where do I go to register?
Stillbirths have to be registered within 42 days. A stillbirth cannot be registered more than three months after it happened.
The stillbirth will normally be registered at the Register Office for the district in which the event took place. However you can supply the information to a Registrar of another district. Remember that things take a bit longer if you go to an office out of the district. This is because the registrar will need to forward your information to the original district which will then post any certificates to you.
Your midwife will normally tell you who to contact and may help you make an appointment to come in to the Register Office.
What documents do I need?
All you need to take is the medical certificate of 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:
Details of the date and place of the stillbirth
Whether the baby is a boy or a girl
The first names and surname if the parents wish to name the child
Mother of the child
Mother's first names and any surname which she has used before and since her marriage (if this applies)
Her date and place of birth
Her current or last occupation
If married to the father, date of marriage
The number of previous children (by her present and any former husbands)
Father of the child (if the information is to be included on the registration)
Father's first name and surname
The date and place of his birth
His current or last occupation
What documents will I be given?
You will be given a short certificate showing your baby's name and date of birth. You will also be given a form for the funeral director, both these forms are issued free of charge. If you wish you can also have a full copy of the Register entry. The current cost of this can be found on the Fees and Charges page.
How can I obtain a certificate for an historic stillbirth entry?
Due to the sensitive nature of stillbirth registrations, the procedure for ordering a copy of a stillbirth entry 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 1 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 Stillbirth certificates can only be obtained from the General Register Office in Southport.
If you want more information:
General Register Office
PO Box 2, Southport
Tel: 0151 4714400
Link: General Register Office