This petition was submitted during the 2015–2017 Conservative government

Petition Amend the Births and Deaths Registration Act 1953 to include all pregnancy loss.

The current Act has narrow margins, which mean many grieving families whom suffer loss of pregnancy earlier than the golden 24 Weeks, are left unable to make a public record of their child

Recently my partner and I lost twins, Harriet is registrable as a neonatal death. Her brother didn't exist!

More details

The Act requires registration of pregnancies resulting in stillborn, neonatal death or live birth. (No change required)

It fails grieving families of pregnancies that result with Abortion, Miscarriage or Late Miscarriage. (No public record with GRO)

(A late miscarriage could change to a stillborn with the passing of a single second of time!)

I suggest the addition of registers which allow parents the option to register their loss (Abortion, miscarriage or late miscarriage) if they wish to.

This petition closed early because of a General Election Find out more on the Petitions Committee website

10,850 signatures

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Government responded

This response was given on 10 August 2017

HMG has no plans to change the law so that every woman who has given birth to a stillborn baby, no matter the period of gestation, has a right to register the event and receive a certificate.

Read the response in full

The Department of Health’s focus has been on reducing the stillbirth rate. In November 2015, the Secretary of State for Health announced an ambition to reduce the rates of stillbirths, neonatal deaths, maternal deaths and brain injuries that occur during or soon after birth by 50% by 2030. To support the NHS in achieving this stretching ambition, the Government also invested:
• Over £8 million to roll out training programmes to make sure staff have the skills and confidence they need to deliver world-leading safe care.
• £2.24 million fund to support trusts to buy monitoring or training equipment to improve safety.
• £500,000 to develop a new system to be used consistently across the NHS so staff can review and learn from every stillbirth and neonatal death.

Regarding the registration of stillbirths, the definition of stillbirth is based on the age at which a baby is considered viable. The Government has no plans to change the definition of stillbirth to include babies born before 24 weeks of gestation.

We are guided on this issue by the clinical evidence which shows that, whilst there have been medical advances in caring for premature babies, only a small number of babies born at under 24 weeks gestation survive.

There are no plans to change the law so that every woman who has given birth to a stillborn baby has a right to a separate birth certificate and death certificate. Parents of babies who are stillborn after 24 weeks’ gestation receive a medical certificate certifying the stillbirth and, upon registration, can register the baby's name and receive a certificate of registration of stillbirth. When a baby is born dead before 24 weeks’ gestation, hospitals may issue a local certificate to commemorate the baby's birth.

The Department of Health is aware that some parents find it very distressing that they may not register the birth of a baby born before 24 weeks. However, it is important to recognise there would also be parents distressed at the possibility of having to do so.

Home Office