STILLBIRTH REGISTRATION: The UK records around 3,500 stillbirths a year. A stillbirth is an infant that does not survive complete gestation.
Stillbirth occurs if the fight for life ends inside the womb after 24 weeks of pregnancy and the baby is born dead.
This section provides guidelines on who can register the stillbirth. There is further information on getting financial support after registering a stillbirth.
Help and guidance is available from several support organisations in the United Kingdom. For example, you can contact ‘Sands‘ Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Charity.
The register office will allow you to give the baby a name in the register. They can also help with the registration of a stillbirth after the 42 day period. Contact your nearest center for information about late registrations.
Note: You should register a stillbirth within 42 days at a register office in England. You must register a stillbirth baby within 21 days in Scotland. Northern Ireland extends the time limit for the registration of stillbirths up to one (1) year.
Who Can Register a Stillbirth?
The mother or the father can sign the registration if the parents of the baby are already married. The mother can sign in cases where:
- The parents of the baby are not married together.
- You cannot trace the father or he is unknown.
If both parents agree, you can enter the name of the father into the register when:
- Both parents sign the stillbirth registration together.
- The mother signs and has a ‘signed declaration’ from the father.
What happens if the parents are not married and the father registers the stillbirth? In this case the mother needs to make a ‘signed declaration’. The register office will help and explain how to perform this process.
Stillbirth Registration after Fertility Treatment
What happens if you conceived the child as a result of fertility treatment? Registering the stillbirth can take place by any of the following people:
- The mother.
- The father (if the mother and father were already married at the time of the fertility treatment).
- The second female parent (if she was in a civil partnership with the mother at the time of treatment).
What if Neither Parent Can Attend the Registration?
If none of the baby’s parents can register the stillbirth, any of the these people can sign instead:
- The occupier at the hospital or home where the stillbirth occurred.
- A person who was present at the stillbirth of the infant.
- Any person responsible for the stillborn child.
- The person who found the stillborn child in cases where the date and place of the stillbirth are unknown.
Note: You will need to take the medical certificate of stillbirth with you. A doctor or midwife issues the certificate. You can also arrange to have a funeral for your stillborn baby.
Maternity Benefits after Stillbirth
You can get financial support and take some time off work after a stillbirth. As a rule, following stillbirths, those who are in employment will get entitlement to:
- Statutory Maternity Pay
- Maternity Leave
- Statutory Paternity Pay and Leave
- Maternity Allowance (those who are not entitled to Statutory Maternity Pay may qualify)
You will need to provide evidence about the stillbirth to get financial support. You can use the notification given by the attending doctor or midwife. A certificate of stillbirth from the registrar also meets this rule. But, you will be ineligible to claim Child Benefit.