Deciding about a funeral for your baby clearly explains the steps that need to be taken and choices that can be made if parents decide to have a funeral for their baby.
The last thing that expectant and new parents dream of is having to make decisions about a funeral for their baby. For many bereaved parents, their baby’s funeral is the first funeral they have had to think about, and for some it is the first they have ever had to attend. So it can be hard to know what to do and where to begin.
This booklet describes what needs to be done if you decide to have a funeral, and the choices you can make. It’s based on what bereaved parents have told us they needed to know. We hope it will help you to make decisions that are right for you. It contains quite a lot of information, some of which may not be relevant to you. So we don’t expect you to read it from cover to cover. Instead we suggest that you look at the contents list on pages 4-5 and choose the sections you need to read.
Making decisions when you are shocked and grieving is not easy. So please don’t feel you have to make up your mind straight away. It can be hard to decide what you want. Couples sometimes find that they don’t want the same things and need time to reach decisions. You may also want time to discuss your choices with other family members and close friends.
Deciding about a funeral may be especially difficult if you have had twins or more. See Multiple births on page 10.
Although you can take your time about most decisions, the hospital staff may want to know before you go home if you want the hospital to arrange the funeral. If you haven’t decided, ask the staff whom you should contact when you have made up your mind.
Registering your baby's death
Babies who were born alive at any stage of pregnancy and then died, and babies who were born after 24 weeks of pregnancy and showed no signs of life, must by law be registered by the registrar of births and deaths.
The hospital staff looking after you will explain what you need to do.
If your baby was born dead before 24 completed weeks of pregnancy your baby’s birth cannot be registered at a register office. However, many hospitals will give you a certificate of birth before the 24th week of pregnancy as a keepsake to commemorate you baby.
If your hospital doesn’t do this, you could provide a certificate yourself and ask them to sign it. Alternatively you can download our blank certificate or call/email our Helpline team (0808 164 3332) and ask them to send you a certificate by post. We have five versions depending on your family's needs: