Stillbirth, neonatal death, baby death, Sands, charity, guide, help, health professionals, support, parents, funeral, family

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. 

If your baby was stillborn after 24 completed weeks of pregnancy, or was born alive at any stage of pregnancy and then died, he or she must, by law, be formally buried or cremated. Before this can take place, the baby’s birth and death or stillbirth must be registered. (The requirement to register before the funeral may change in 2014) The staff looking after you will tell you what you need to do.

If your baby was born dead before 24 weeks you can also have a funeral but it is not required by law.

For detailed information please read or download Deciding about a funeral for your baby. 

Urgent funerals - If for religious reasons, you need to hold the funeral very quickly, most registrars will register a stillbirth or a death out of normal office hours if necessary.  The hospital staff will be able to give you the information you need to arrange this. (The requirement to register before the funeral may change in 2014. The hospital staff will tell you what you need to do.).


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.  

For more detailed information about registration please read or download Saying goodbye to your baby. A printed copy of Saying goodbye to your baby can be ordered from our shop.

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:

Download a Certificate of birth before the 24th week of pregnancy.