Government announces launch of baby loss certificates

People in England who have experienced pregnancy loss before 24 weeks will be able to apply for an official certificate recognising their bereavement from today (February 22).

The certificates, launched by the Department for Health and Social Care, will initially be available to those who have experienced pregnancy loss before 24 weeks since 1 September 2018. There will be no need to provide any medical evidence.

The Government says it aims to extend the scheme to those who experienced pregnancy loss longer ago ‘as soon as we can’.

Only people who lived in England at the time of their loss, and who still live in England, will be able to apply for a certificate.

People in Scotland can already apply to have their loss recorded in the Memorial Book of Pregnancy and Baby Loss Prior to 24 Weeks, and receive a certificate of inclusion in the book.

We've put together some FAQs with more information on the process and who is able to apply for a certificate at this stage.

The introduction of baby loss certificates was part of the Government’s response to the independent Pregnancy Loss Review.  

Kath Abrahams, Chief Executive of Tommy’s, said: 

“The pain of losing a baby before 24 weeks is often made even worse for bereaved parents because there is no formal recognition of their experience.  

“We’re pleased that baby loss certificates will now be available to provide a degree of comfort for at least some of those families.

“We know at Tommy’s that people can feel very isolated after pregnancy loss.

“Recognising their experience and allowing them a way to record it formally through a certificate sends a valuable message that they - and their babies - are not forgotten.

“There will be disappointment that the new scheme applies only to England – although there is a similar option for registering pregnancy loss in Scotland - and that for the moment the certificates will not be available to anyone who experienced pregnancy loss before 1 September 2018.

“We hope the scheme can be fully rolled out across the UK as soon as possible, so that everyone who wants to apply for a certificate is eligible, no matter when or where they experienced pregnancy loss.

“We do believe, however, that more must be done to formally record losses before 24 weeks.

“We cannot begin to tackle the wider problem of baby loss without a Government commitment to gather and record UK-wide miscarriage statistics.

“Without data, miscarriage remains a largely hidden problem and isn’t prioritised, despite the tens of thousands of families affected by it every year.

“For an organisation like Tommy’s, which is committed to understanding and preventing early pregnancy loss, this lack of data stands in the way of improvements to services for women and birthing people who have experienced miscarriage.”

Our team at Tommy’s National Centre for Miscarriage Research is currently piloting a ‘graded model’ of miscarriage care, which ensures that people are offered support and appropriate care after their first miscarriage, rather than having to wait until they have had three consecutive miscarriages.

We’re pleased that Ministers have publicly supported the pilot project – which is due to report its results soon - and committed to considering a roll-out of the graded model as part of their response to last year’s Pregnancy Loss Review.

For all those who wish to apply, you can access the service from 9am today (February 22) on the website.