Baby loss certificates to be issued in England

Emily Whitton
By Emily Whitton,
updated on Feb 22, 2024

Image shows white flowers among grass.

This article discusses topics that some readers may find upsetting.

Bereaved parents who have lost a baby before 24 weeks of pregnancy will be able to receive a certificate in recognition of their loss

Recent news has revealed that bereaved parents in England who have lost a baby before 24 weeks of pregnancy will now be able to voluntarily apply for a certificate in recognition of their loss. 

Miscarriage or pregnancy loss is an incredibly painful experience, and it is thought that around one in five women will lose a baby before 24 weeks in the UK. Additionally, there are over 11,000 admissions a year for losses due to ectopic pregnancies. Many will also choose to terminate a wanted pregnancy for medical reasons.

Babies who are born dead after 24 weeks of pregnancy are known as stillbirths and are officially registered. However, those who are lost before this stage are not recognised in this same way. This left many grieving families feeling as though their loss was not acknowledged. The welcome news that bereaved parents will now be able to access a baby loss certificate will help recognise the devastating impact that early pregnancy loss has on women and their families. 

The news has been praised by many, with the BBC saying campaigners are “thrilled” to know that millions of families will now receive a formal acknowledgement that their baby existed. The introduction of certificates is a positive step towards supporting grieving families, with many hoping that it will provide some comfort. 

How can I apply for a baby loss certificate? 

Initially, bereaved parents can apply for a baby loss certificate if they:

  • experienced a loss on or since 1st September 2018
  • are at least 16 years old
  • were living in England at the time
  • currently live in England 
  • are the baby’s parent or surrogate 

These parameters will be in place during the first roll-outs, but ministers and campaigners are hoping to widen this to pre-September 2018 as soon as possible. Wales are planning to deliver a similar scheme, while in Scotland, families can already record their loss in the country’s memorial book. 

It is free to apply and you can request a baby loss certificate via the government website, 

Where can I find support for baby loss? 


Counselling can help people affected by baby loss understand and process the complexities of this grief. Integrative psychotherapeutic counsellor, Lyndsey Adderley, explores 9 ways therapy can support experiences of pregnancy and infant loss.

“By seeking professional support, solace can be found in knowing that the grief is valid and is witnessed. It is important to emphasise that seeking professional help is not a reflection of a lack of strength or resilience. In fact, it is an act of self-care and empowerment.”

Baby loss not only has an impact on the carrier of the baby but also the wider family. In his article, ‘The impact of baby loss on men’s mental health,’ counsellor Andrew Laidlaw explores how therapy can help men process their own grief, as well as support their partner through this loss. 

If you or someone you know has been affected by baby loss in pregnancy, you can find a bereavement or miscarriage counsellor on Counselling Directory. 

Useful resources

  • On a mission to make pregnancy safer, Tommy’s is a pregnancy charity that supports pregnant people no matter where they are on their pregnancy journey. Their midwives offer help and support for any aspect of pregnancy loss. Call 0800 0147 800 or email [email protected]. You can also join their community Facebook groups to connect with others who have experienced loss. 
  • Sands works to support anybody who has been affected by pregnancy loss or the death of a baby. You can contact them on 0808 164 3332, email [email protected] or find a local support group. 
  • The Lullaby Trust offers confidential bereavement support for anyone affected by the sudden or unexpected death of a baby or young child. They can be reached by calling 0808 802 6868 or emailing [email protected].
  • The Mariposa Trust provides information, support and resources in the UK and internationally for families affected by baby loss. 
  • The Miscarriage Association provides information and support to anyone affected by the loss of a baby in pregnancy. You can call their helpline on 01924 200 799 between 9 am and 4 pm, Monday to Friday, or email [email protected].

Emily Whitton

By Emily Whitton

Emily Whitton is a Content Creator and Marketing Coordinator at Happiful

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