Register a stillbirth

How to register a stillbirth and when it must be done by.

1 Book an appointment

A stillbirth is defined as a baby born dead after 24 completed weeks of pregnancy.

When a child is stillborn the doctor or midwife will issue a certificate of stillbirth which will be used in the registration.

2 Who can register a stillbirth

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

The mother can sign alone 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’ from the father (the register office can explain how to do this).

If the father registers the stillbirth and the parents aren’t married:

  • the mother will need to make a ‘signed declaration’ (the register office can explain how to do this).

If the child was conceived as a result of fertility treatment

Any of the following can register the stillbirth:

  • the mother
  • the father, if he was married to the mother at the time of treatment
  • the second female parent if she was in a civil partnership with the mother at the time of treatment.

If neither parent can attend

The following people can register the stillbirth:

  • the occupier of the hospital or house where the stillbirth took place
  • someone who was present at the stillbirth
  • someone who is responsible for the stillborn child
  • the person who found the stillborn child, if the date and place of the stillbirth are unknown.

3 What you need to take

You need the medical certificate of stillbirth issued by the doctor or midwife.

Find advice on financial support, taking time off work and support organisations on GOV.UK.

4 What you will receive

The following certificates will be issued:

  • Certificate of Registration - this provides proof that the stillbirth has been registered, as well as any names given to the stillborn child.
  • Certificate for Burial or Cremation - this needs to be given to the funeral director or person arranging the funeral.
  • Stillbirth Certificate - this is an exact copy of the entry in the register.

All these certificates are provided free of charge.

5 Registration by declaration

If you do not live within this district, and it is more convenient, you can go to your local registration office. In this case, all details will be sent through the post to the district in which the stillbirth occurred.

The form for the funeral director and any certificates will be returned to you in the post.

Last updated:
26 October 2023
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