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Council Services:

Register a stillbirth

A stillbirth in England or Wales should be registered within 42 days.

Sometimes a stillbirth can be registered up to 12 months from the date of birth. After more than 12 months, a registration will need to be authorised by the Registrar General.

A medical certificate will be issued by the doctor or midwife who examined the body or was present at the birth. You need this certificate to register the stillbirth at a registration office.

You can go to any registration office in England and Wales to give details about a stillbirth, but they will be forwarded to the district where the birth occurred and registered there. The registration officer will complete the registration from the information you have supplied. This is called registering a stillbirth by declaration.


You can also book an appointment by calling 01522 782244 between 8am and 6pm Monday to Friday and 9am and 4pm on Saturdays.

Legal definition of a stillborn child:

  • 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 any other signs of life is considered live-born for registration purposes. This is irrespective of the number of weeks duration of the pregnancy.

Who can register a stillbirth?

If the parents of the child were married to each other at the time of the stillbirth either parent may register.

If the parents were not married to each other at the time of the stillbirth information about the father may only be entered in the register if:

  • the mother and father sign the birth register together
  • the mother provides a statutory declaration acknowledging the father's paternity, if he cannot attend
  • the father provides a statutory declaration acknowledging his paternity, if the mother cannot attend

The Statutory Declaration of Parentage form is available from any registration officer in England and Wales and can also be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

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. Speak to the registration officer about this.

If neither parent can register the stillbirth, the registration officer will arrange for the registration to be completed by:

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

Information required at registration


  • 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 stillbirth or, if not employed, her previous occupation
  • Usual address at the date of the stillbirth
  • Date of marriage, if married to the child's father at the time of the stillbirth
  • Number of previous children by the present husband and by any former husband

Father (if this information is to be entered)

  • Forename(s) and surname
  • Date and place of birth
  • Occupation at the time of the stillbirth or, if not employed, his previous occupation


  • Forename(s) and surname, if the parents wish to name the child
  • Date and place of stillbirth
  • Gender of the child

It's important that the information recorded in the stillbirth register is accurate as correcting errors can cause problems.

When registering the stillbirth, you should check the information in the register carefully before the entry is signed. In certain situations, registration can be carried out at the hospital.

If English is not the first language of the person registering the stillbirth, it's helpful for someone to accompany the person to the registration officer's office to act as interpreter, however, the person must register the stillbirth personally. The helper/interpreter cannot register the stillbirth.

What certificates will be issued?

Certificate of registration

A certificate of registration is issued, free of charge, to the person who registers the stillbirth. This certificate is proof that the stillbirth has been registered. Any names given to the stillborn child and entered in the register will appear on the certificate of registration.

Stillbirth certificate

After registration, one or more certificates may be bought by the mother at a cost of £10 each. The father can only buy certificates if his details are recorded in the register entry.

Any application for a certificate, from someone other than the parents, should be directed to the registration office. They will have to specify why the certificate is required.

Certificate for burial or cremation

The registration officer will issue a certificate for the burial or cremation of the stillborn child. This is normally given to the funeral director by the person who is making the arrangements. A funeral cannot go ahead until this certificate is given to the burial authority or the crematorium.

It's possible for a certificate for the burial to be issued before registration. This is only possible if the stillbirth does not need to be reported to the coroner. A certificate for cremation cannot be issued before registration.

For any queries about the registering process, please call 01522 782244 or email


The following files will open in their associated programs. To view PDF files on our website Adobe Acrobat Reader 5 or above is recommended. To upgrade or for help, visit the Adobe website.

Need an appointment?

For your convenience, you can book an appointment to register a Birth or Death online.


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Last updated: 20 July 2016

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