If you have a stillborn child, you are still required to register the birth.
A stillborn child is legally defined as a child born after the 24th week of pregnancy who did not at any time after being born breathe or show any other signs of life. (A child who breathed or showed other signs of life is considered live born for registration purposes, irrespective of the number of weeks duration of the pregnancy.)
When a child is stillborn, the doctor or midwife who was present at the birth or examined the baby will issue a medical certificate of stillbirth. The person who registers the stillbirth must take this certificate to the registrar's office.
The stillbirth must be registered in the district in which it takes place, normally within 42 days. In Dudley borough this is at either Dudley Register Office or Stourbridge Registration Office.
If it is inconvenient to go to the registrar in the district where the stillbirth took place, the information for the registration may be given at any registration office. This is called registering by declaration. The registrar will record the details on a form of declaration and send it to the registrar for the correct district. The registrar who receives the declaration will enter the information in the register and post the documents and any certificates requested to you.
Please note that if the registration is made by declaration, it may take a day or two longer for the document for burial or cremation to be issued because of the need to use the postal system. The family should discuss the arrangements with their funeral director and the registrar to avoid any delay to the funeral.
To arrange an appointment to register a stillbirth in a Dudley borough registration office please contact Dudley register office by using our contact form or by calling 01384 815373.
Who can register a stillbirth
If the parents of the child were married to each other at the time of the stillbirth (or conception), either the mother or the father may register.
If the parents were not married to each other at the time of the stillbirth, information about the father may be entered in the register in the following ways:
- The mother and father go to the registration office together.
- Where the father is unable to go to the registration office with the mother, he may make a statutory declaration acknowledging his paternity, which the mother must produce to the registrar. (This form may be obtained from any register office in England or Wales).
- Where the mother is unable to go to the registration office with the father, she may make a statutory declaration, which the father must produce, to the registrar. (This form may be obtained from any register office in England or Wales).
Although the majority are registered by the parents, sometimes neither the mother nor the father is able to do this. In these circumstances, the registrar will arrange for the registration to be completed by whichever of the following people is best able to do so:
- The occupier of the house or hospital where the child was still-born.
- A person who was present.
- A person who is responsible for the stillborn child.
Information required to register
For the baby we will need:
- Date and place of stillbirth.
- The forename(s) and surname, if the parents wish to name the child.
- The sex of the child.
For the baby's father - If you want us to enter details into the register, we will need:
- Forename(s) and Surname.
- Date and place of birth.
- Occupation at the time or, if not employed at that time, the last occupation.
For the baby's mother we will need:
- Forename(s) and surname.
- Maiden surname if the mother is, or has been, married.
- Date and place of birth.
- Occupation at the time, or if not employed at that time, the last occupation.
- Usual address.
- Date of marriage, if married to the child's father at the time.
- Number of previous children.
This information is recorded in a register and the person registering signs the record.
It is most important that the information recorded in the register is correct. If any mistake is made it will give the parents or other person who registered some trouble to have it put right. Any error found before the register is signed can be corrected easily.
A certificate of registration will be issued to the person who registers the stillbirth. The certificate provides proof that the stillbirth has been registered. Any names given to the child and entered in the register will be recorded on the certificate of registration.
At the time of the registration, certificates may be bought for the statutory fee of £11 each by the mother or the father. The father's details would need to be recorded in the register entry for him to be able to obtain a certificate. Any application from someone who is not the mother or the father should be sent to the General Register Office, giving full details of the purpose for which the certificate is required.
The registrar will issue a certificate for the burial (in a burial ground) or cremation (in a crematorium) of the child. The certificate is normally passed to the funeral director who is making the arrangements. A funeral cannot take place until this certificate is given to the burial authority or the crematorium.
The registration of a stillbirth forms part of the grieving process for many parents and is an essential element in the protection of human life; it also provides vital information for the purpose of medical research.
Baby loss certificate
If you have lost a baby before the 24th week of pregnancy, you have the option to apply for a baby loss certificate.
It is a voluntary scheme to support parents who have experienced a pregnancy loss before 24 weeks and the certificate is an important acknowledgement of a life lost but it is not a legal document.
Either parent can apply for a Baby Loss Certificate if:
- they have experienced a loss under 24 weeks since 1 September 2018
- are at least 16 years of age
- currently live in England
- and were living in England at the time of the loss
Please visit GOV.UK website for further information and to apply for a baby loss certificate.