Register a stillbirth

A stillbirth should be registered at a register office within 42 days.

Sometimes a stillbirth can be registered after 42 days - the register office can explain when this can happen. You can name the baby in the register.

You can search for a register office.

In Scotland you must register a stillbirth within 21 days. In Northern Ireland you have up to 1 year to register a stillbirth.

Who can register the stillbirth

If the baby’s parents are married, either the mother or father can register.

The mother can sign if:

  • the baby’s parents are not married
  • the father cannot be traced or is unknown

If both parents want the father’s name in the register:

  • both parents can sign the register together
  • the mother can sign and bring a ‘signed declaration’ from the father (the register office can explain how to do this).

If the father registers the stillbirth and the parents are not married, the mother will need to make a ‘signed declaration’ (the register office can explain how to do this).

If the child was conceived as a result of fertility treatment

Either of the following can register the stillbirth:

  • the mother
  • the father, if he was married to the mother at the time of treatment
  • the second female parent if she was in a civil partnership with the mother at the time of treatment

If neither parent can attend

The following people can register the stillbirth:

  • the occupier of the hospital or house where the stillbirth took place
  • someone who was present at the stillbirth
  • someone who is responsible for the stillborn child
  • the person who found the stillborn child, if the date and place of the stillbirth are unknown

What you need to take

You need the medical certificate of stillbirth issued by the doctor or midwife.

You can arrange a funeral for your baby.

Financial support and taking time off work

Following a stillbirth, you’re normally entitled to:

You will be asked for evidence to get financial support. This can be the notification for the registration of a stillbirth from the attending doctor or midwife, or a certificate of stillbirth from the registrar.

You will not be able to claim Child Benefit.

Support organisations

The following organisations give support and advice:

  1. Step 1 Register the death

    1. Register the death within 5 days

    Check what to do if:

    To stop or change benefits payments you can tell the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) about the death straight away.

  2. Step 2 Arrange the funeral

  3. Step 3 Tell government about the death

    The Tell Us Once service allows you to inform all the relevant government departments when someone dies.

    1. Use the Tell Us Once service to tell government
    2. If Tell Us Once is not available in your area tell government yourself

    You'll also need to tell banks, utility companies and landlords yourself.

  4. Step 4 Check if you can get bereavement benefits

  5. and Deal with your own benefits, pension and taxes

    Your tax, benefit claims and pension might change depending on your relationship with the person who died.

    1. Manage your tax, pensions and benefits if your spouse has died
    2. Check how benefits are affected if a child dies
  6. and Check if you need to apply to stay in the UK

    If your right to live in the UK depends on your relationship with someone who died you might need to apply for a new visa.

    Check the rules if:

    1. Contact UKVI to check the rules for other visas
  7. Step 5 Deal with their estate

    You might have to deal with the will, money and property of the person who's died if you're a close friend or relative, or the executor of the will.

    1. Check what to do about wills, probate and inheritance
    2. Update property records