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Register a stillbirth

Register a stillbirth

When you have experienced the sadness of a stillbirth, it can be very daunting to have to face attending the register office to complete the legal registration process.

This page will give you guidance on what is required and what is involved, but if you would rather speak to someone personally please contact us at the Register Office on registrars@northlincs.gov.uk or 01724 298555.  We will be able to give you further information.

A stillbirth is legally defined as a child who is born on or after the 24th week of pregnancy who after birth does not breathe or show any other sign of life. A death is when a person has lived, no matter how long, and subsequently dies. Therefore if a child is born alive and only lives for a matter of minutes, the event must be registered as a live birth and a death.

Stillbirths should  be registered within 42 days (six weeks).

The stillbirth should be registered at the register office for the district in which it happened. You can go to another register office if it is more convenient, but things take a bit longer if you go to an office out of the district where the stillbirth occurred. This is because the registrar will need to forward your information to the original district who 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. We understand that registering a stillbirth is distressing and we can arrange for a registrar to carry out the registration either at the hospital or the parents' home, if you prefer.

Please contact us at the Register Office on registrars@northlincs.gov.uk or 01724 298555. We will help you arrange the registration.

You must take the medical certificate of stillbirth with you when you go to register. This will be given to you by the doctor or midwife.

The registrar will ask the following details and enter the details on to the computer:

  • Where and when the stillbirth took place
  • The full names of the baby
  • The sex of the baby
  • Parents' forenames and surnames
  • Maiden name if the mother is, or has been, married
  • Mother’s usual address at the time of the stillbirth
  • Date and place of birth of both parents
  • Occupations of parents
  • Date of marriage, if the mother is married to the stillborn child's father at the time of the stillbirth
  • Number of the mother's previous children by the present husband and by any former husband

If the parents of the child are married at the time of the stillbirth, then either the mother or father can register the stillbirth.

If the parents were not married, then who registers the stillbirth will depend on a number of factors:

  • If you want the father's details to be entered in the register, then both parents must go and sign the stillbirth register together.
  • If the father is unable to go to the Register Office with the mother, but you still want his details included, then he can make a statutory declaration on form 16 (available from the Register Office) acknowledging his paternity, which the mother must give to the Registrar.
  • If the mother is unable to go to the Register Office with the father, she may make a statutory declaration acknowledging the father's paternity on the same form as above which the father must give to the Registrar (form available from the Register Office). 

If the father's details are not recorded in the stillbirth register, it may be possible for the stillbirth to be re-registered at a later date. Please contact the Register Office for details of this procedure.

Although parents register the majority of stillbirths, sometimes neither the mother nor father is able to attend. In this case, please contact us on registrars@northlincs.gov.uk or 01724 298555 for advice.

There is no fee for registering a stillbirth.

You will be given a short certificate showing your baby's name and date of birth. You will be given a form for the funeral director. Both these forms are issued free of charge.

We will also give you a free full certificate which shows both the parents' and baby's details.
We do not charge families for stillbirth certificates issued at the time of registration.

Due to the sensitive nature of stillbirth registrations, the procedure for ordering copy certificates differs from other types of certificates. 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 only 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.

For more information on obtaining a certificate after the date of registration, telephone or write to the General Register Office, Southport, PR8 2WJ or call 0845 6037788

Other sites of interest

Contact details

registrars@northlincs.gov.uk

01724 298555

Fax: 01724 296020

North Lincolnshire Registration Service 
Civic Centre 
Ashby Road 
Scunthorpe 
North Lincolnshire 
DN16 1AB

Opening hours

Monday to Friday: 9am to 4pm

Saturday: 10am to 4pm

Last updated: 01/02/2017
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