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Registering a stillborn baby

We understand it can be difficult to register a still-birth. Find government guidance on what is required and what is involved.

If you would rather speak to someone personally please contact us using the details at the bottom of the page.

Why is registration necessary?

Still-birth registration began in 1927 to help protect infant life. It gives the parents the opportunity to have their child officially acknowledged and give them a name, as well as being a source of historical information.

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 breathe or show signs of life at any time after being born. 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.

Who can register the stillbirth?

  • The mother of the baby.
  • The father of the baby, if he was married to the mother at the time of the still-birth.
  • The mother and the father jointly if they are not married to each other at the time of the still-birth.
  • The mother or the father, attending alone, if they were not married at the time of the still-birth, bringing with them an appropriate prescribed legal document signed by the other parent. Contact us for details about this document.

When and where do I go to register?

Still-births should normally be registered within 42 days. A still-birth cannot be registered more than three months after the date of the still-birth.

The still-birth will normally be registered at the office for the district in which it happened. If this is not convenient for you, you may go to any other office in England and Wales.

At most registration offices an appointment is required.

What documents do I need?

All you need to take is the medical certificate of still-birth issued by the doctor or midwife present at the time.

What information will I be asked for?

  • the date and place of stillbirth
  • the forenames and surname, if the parents wish to name the stillborn child.
  • the sex of the child.
  • The father’s name; date and place of birth and occupation
  • The mother’s name; maiden name (if applicable); date and place of birth; occupation; address; date of marriage (if married to the still-born child's father) and number of children.

What certificates will be issued?

A certificate of registration will be issued free of charge, to the person who registers the still-birth. The certificate provides proof that the still-birth 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 registration one or more certificates may be bought by the mother or father. The father's details will need to be recorded in the entry for him to be able to obtain a certificate.

Any application from someone other than the mother or father will need to be sent to the General Register Office, Certificate Production Unit, PO Box 2, Southport, PR8 2JD, giving full details of the purpose for which the certificate is required.

The registrar will issue a certificate for the burial or cremation. The certificate is normally handed to the funeral director or hospital making the arrangements. A funeral cannot take place until this certificate is given to the burial authority or the crematorium.

Contact us

Write to us: Registration Service, 115 Charles Street, Leicester LE1 1FZ
Ring us on: 0116 454 1000
Send us a message