a stillborn child
Before January 1995, stillborn babies were not considered as births in Ireland.
This caused a lot of trauma for parents who felt that they were encouraged by
authorities to forget about their stillborn children and move on with their
lives without mourning them or even acknowledging their existence.
a stillborn child be registered on the births register?
Since 1995, parents have the opportunity to register their stillborn children.
This is not necessary within three months, as is the case with live births.
Parents can take stock of their loss and choose to register their stillborn
baby when the time is right for them.
I register my stillborn child if it happened many years ago?
In the past, there were tragic instances of stillborn babies bodies being
disposed of in various ways which parents found unacceptable and insensitive.
In more recent times, all the maternity hospitals allocated a special plot of
land on which stillborn children may be buried, with suitable rites. Though
this can never make up for the loss, many parents are grateful that their children
can be properly acknowledged and mourned.
Similarly, parents appreciate the chance to register their stillborn children,
as they would for children that live. The births register is the official State
record of all births that take place in Ireland, and it is only right that stillborn
births be recognised too.
For parents who suffered the tragedy of a stillbirth before 1995, there is
now the opportunity to back-register those lost children. Even if a stillbirth
occurred many years ago, it may still be registered.
does the law recognise as a stillborn child?
The law isnt designed to cover every miscarriage. Specifically, it is
intended for parents whose children nearly reached full term. In the UK, a miscarriage
becomes a stillbirth once the pregnancy lasts 28 weeks. In Ireland, the definition
is slightly broader. A stillborn child, according to the 1994 Act, is a child
born showing no signs off life who is also either:
- A child weighing 500 grams (1lb 1.60zs) or more at the time of the birth.
- A child that has reached the gestational age of at least 24 weeks or more.
and where can I register my stillborn child?
Either parent of a stillborn child can sign the stillbirths register
in the appropriate Registrars Office. You must bring specific evidence
with you to prove to the Registrar that a stillbirth has occurred. This evidence
could comprise an authoritative written statement in writing from the maternity
hospital, or from your midwife or GP, stating the date and place of birth, the
weight and the gestational age of the stillborn child.
To actually register, the parents will have to enter the forename and surname
of the child on the register. They will also have to include their forenames,
surnames, and any former surnames, such as maiden names. Finally, both parents
will enter their address and occupation.
At least one parent must attend, in person, at the office of the Registrar
of the district in which the stillbirth occurred. In some cases, parents who
dont live in the district where the stillbirth happened may not know the
name or location of the appropriate Registrar. Your local Health Board Office
or Clinic will advise you and point you in the right direction.
The Registrar can provide a certificate of stillbirth at the time of registration
only to the parent signing the stillbirths register. Afterwards, the mother
or father of the stillborn child can get a certified copy of the entry in the
register at the Office of the Registrar-General, Joyce House, 8-11 Lombard Street
East, Dublin 2.
At the time of registration, a stillbirth certificate costs €5.08. Afterwards,
they are only available from General Register Office at the price of €6.98.
else should I talk to about stillbirth?
Having a stillborn child is a very traumatising experience, and it may be useful
to receive some form of bereavement counselling. For more information contact:
The Irish Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Society
4 North Brunswick Street
General Register Office
8-11 Lombard Street East
Tel: (01) 6354435/33
to top of page