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When a baby is born sleeping (still-born)

Current legislation in the UK stipulates only a baby born after 24wks is  still-born, infants born prior to 24wks are not required to be registered and do not require a birth or death certificate.

When a baby is born sleeping after 24 weeks (categorised as still-born) the Registration procedure is slightly different, unlike other deaths which need to be registered within 5 days of the death still-born deaths need to be registered within 12 months.

A medical certificate will be provided by the Midwife or Doctor who were present at the birth or examined the baby.

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In some circumstances it may be possible to register the death in the hospital but it is more usual to attend the Births, Deaths & Marriages Registration Office. The still-birth must be registered in the district in which it occurred.

Registration by Declaration

If it is not possible to register a still-birth in the district in which it occurred it may be arranged through any Registration Office in England or Wales. This is called registering a stillbirth by declaration. The birth will not be registered at this Registration Office but details will be sent to the Registration district where the baby was born.  The Registration Officer at that registration district will complete the registration from the information you’ve supplied.


Who can register the death

If the parents of the child were married to each other at the time of the still-birth either parent may register the still-birth. If the parents were not married to each other at the time of the still-birth information about the father may only be entered in the register if:

  • the mother and father attend the Registration Office and sign the still-birth register together; or
  • the mother shows the Registration Officer a Statutory Declaration acknowledging the father’s paternity, or
  • the father shows the Registration Officer a statutory declaration acknowledging his paternity.

The Statutory Declaration form is available from any Registration Officer in England and Wales.

If information about the father is not originally recorded it may be possible for the birth to be re-registered to include his details at a later date, the local Registration Officer can provide further information about this.

If neither parent can register the still-birth, the Registration Officer will arrange for the registration to be completed by:

  • the occupier of the house or hospital where the child was still-born;
  • a person who was present at the still-birth;
  • a person who is responsible for the still-born child;
  • the person who found the still-born child (where the date and place of the still-birth are unknown).


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What happens next?

Certificate of Registration

The person who registers the still-birth will be provided, free of charge, with a Certificate of Registration.  The Certificate will show details of names and information provided in the registration process. 

Stillbirth Certificate

Additional Certificates may be purchased by the baby’s mother but the father may only purchase additional copies if his name is recorded on the Register entry.

Any application for certificates, from anyone other than the parents, should be directed to the Registration Office and they will be required to state why they are required. 

Certificate for burial or cremation

It is necessary to provide the Funeral Director with the Certificate of Registration and the funeral or cremation cannot proceed without it.

If there’s a delay to the registration

It’s possible for a Certificate for burial to be issued before registration. This is only possible if the still-birth does not need to be reported to the Coroner.  A Certificate for cremation cannot be issued before registration.


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