Registering a still-birth | Oxfordshire County Council

Registering a still-birth

What you need to do to register a still-birth.

When a child is still-born, the doctor or midwife will issue a medical certificate of still-birth. The person who registers the still-birth must take this certificate to the Registrar.

Every still-birth in England or Wales must be registered in the district in which it takes place.

How a still-birth is defined

A still-born child is legally defined as a child born after the 24th week of pregnancy who did not at any time after being born breathe or show any other signs of life (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).

Registration if the still-birth occurs in Oxfordshire

If the still-birth occurs at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, the registration can sometimes be carried out at the hospital before the mother leaves. The midwives at the hospital will be able to advise on the procedure for this.

If this is not possible, or if the still-birth occurs elsewhere in Oxfordshire, you will be able to make an appointment to attend any of the registration offices in the county. For more information call contact the Registration Service.

Registration by declaration

If you live outside Oxfordshire or if the still-birth occurs outside Oxfordshire

If it is not convenient for you to register the still-birth in Oxfordshire, as you live some distance away, you may prefer to make a declaration of the still-birth at your local register office in another district. Staff from your local register office will be able to offer you advice on the procedure for this.

If the stillbirth occurs outside Oxfordshire and it is inconvenient for you to go to the district where the still-birth took place, you may prefer to make a declaration of the still-birth in Oxfordshire. For more information, contact the Registration Service.

As explained below, registration by declaration does result in a delay in the issue of the document needed for the funeral arrangements.

Registration

The registrar will record the details in the form of a declaration and send it to the registrar for the district where the still-birth occurred. The registrar who receives the declaration will enter the information in the still-birth register.

Certificates of the still-birth, which can usually be ordered and paid for at the time of making the declaration, as well as the document for the burial or cremation, will be posted by the registrar for the district where the still-birth took place (some districts are unable to accept cheques, in which case alternative methods of payment will be suggested).

If a declaration is made, it may take a day or two longer for the document for burial or cremation to be issued. The family should discuss the arrangements with their funeral director and the registrar so as to avoid any delay to the funeral.

Who can register a still-birth

Parents married to each other

If the parents of the child were married to each other at the time of the still-birth (or conception), either the mother or the father may register.

Parents not married to each other

If the parents were not married to each other at the time of the still-birth (or conception), information about the father may be entered in the register only in the following circumstances:

  • Where the mother and father go to the register office and sign the still-birth register together, or
  • Where the father is unable to go to the register office with the mother - the father may make a statutory declaration acknowledging his paternity which the mother must produce to the registrar (this form may be obtained from any registrar in England or Wales, or downloaded from GOV.UK).
  • Where the mother is unable to go to the register office with the father - the mother may make a statutory declaration acknowledging the father's paternity which the father must produce to the registrar (this form may be obtained from any registrar in England or Wales, or downloaded from Directgov).

 

    If information about the father is not recorded, it may be possible for the birth to be re-registered to include his details at a later date.

    Although the majority of still-births are registered by the parents, sometimes neither the mother or the father are able to do this. In these circumstances, the registrar will arrange for the registration to be completed by whichever of the following people is best able to do so:

    • 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)

    Information you will need

    About the child

    • Date and place of still-birth
    • The forename(s) and surname, if the parents wish to name the still-born child
    • Sex of the child

    Father (where this information is to be entered in the register)

    • Forename(s) and surname
    • Date and place of birth
    • Occupation at the time of the still-birth or, if not employed at that time, the last occupation

    About the mother

    • Forename(s) and surname
    • Maiden surname if the mother is, or has been, married
    • Date and place of birth
    • Occupation at the time of the still-birth or, if not employed at that time, the last occupation
    • Usual address at the date of the still-birth
    • Date of marriage, if married to the still-born child's father at the time of the still-birth
    • Number of previous children by the present husband/partner and by any former husband/partner

    The person registering the still-birth should check the information very carefully before signing the register.

    Certificates that will be issued

    Certificate of registration

    A certificate of registration will be issued, free of charge, to the person who registers the still-birth. This certificate provides proof that the still-birth has been registered. Any names given to the still-born child and entered in the register will be recorded on the certificate of registration.

    Still-birth certificate

    After a still-birth has been registered, one or more certificates may be bought at the time of registration or at any time afterwards by the mother or the father. (The father's details would need to be recorded in the register entry for him to be able to obtain a certificate). Any application for a certificate from someone who is not the mother or father should be sent to the address below, giving full details of the purpose for which the certificate is required:

    General Register Office
    Certificate Production1
    PO Box 2
    Southport
    PR8 2JD

    Certificate for burial or cremation

    The registrar will issue a certificate for the burial (in a burial ground) or cremation (in a crematorium) of the still-born child. The certificate is normally passed to the funeral director who is making the arrangements. A funeral cannot take place until this certificate is given to the burial authority or the crematorium. If there is a delay to the registration, it is possible for a certificate for the burial (in a burial ground) to be issued before registration provided the still-birth does not need to be reported to the coroner. A certificate for cremation cannot be issued before the registration.

    Last reviewed
    09 May 2017
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