Life welcomes review to allow stillborn babies before 24 weeks to be registered

Life welcomes the launch of a review into whether stillborn babies before 24 weeks should receive a birth certificate.

Currently only parents of babies who are stillborn after 24 weeks can register their baby’s name and receive a certificate of registration of stillbirth. However there have been several petitions recently with one by signed by over 372,000 people calling for stillborn babies to be registered at least from 20 weeks. Last week, Minister for Women Victoria Atkins announced in Parliament that the Government recognises the distress this may cause to parents and will look at whether the current laws should be changed to allow for the registration of pregnancy stillborn babies before 24 weeks’ gestation. She said that as part of this review, the government will seek views and evidence from all interested parties

Life Spokeswoman Clare Plasom-Scott said “The loss of a child at any stage is deeply traumatic for parents. However not being able to give their baby a legal name to recognise the fact that he/she existed as part of their family must add to the devastation and distress they feel. Their child is real and their loss is real.

As a charity which provides free counselling to women who experience pregnancy loss, we know how difficult it is for parents to cope with the death of their baby. It is therefore vital that we ensure everything is done to help them recover and carry on. The acceptance and recognition of their baby’s presence, identity and departure are important factors which are vital in that process of healing and recovery. We therefore support the call for babies born before 24 weeks to be able to have their name registered and a birth certificate issued.”

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