HOW PARENTS CAN REGISTER THEIR STILLBORN CHILD
The birth of a stillborn child is naturally a very traumatic experience for the parents involved. It is a time of great sadness and distress which will never be forgotten. This birth can now be officially recognised.
Civil Registration Act 2004
The act applies only in relation to a child born weighing not less than 500 grammes or having a gestational age of not less than 24 weeks and who shows no sign of life at birth.
The registration of stillborn children has taken place since 1 January 1995 , and it is possible to register a stillbirth whether the child was born prior to, or since, that date.
How to register a Stillborn child
A Birth Notification Form (Form BNF/01) will usually be completed with the parent(s) by hospital staff (in the case of hospital births) or by a doctor or midwife (in domiciliary births). This form outlines the information to be recorded in the Register of Stillbirths and will be completed with one, or both parents to ensure that correct and accurate information is registered. This form will be forwarded to a registration office to inform the registrar that the stillbirth has occurred.
The completion of a Birth Notification Form is NOT sufficient to register a stillbirth and the parent(s) or other qualified informant (see below) may attend the registrar's office in person to complete the registration process.
Where the parents or other qualified informant decide to register the stillbirth, the medical practitioner who attended the stillbirth, or examined the stillborn child shall if requested provide a certificate stating that they attended the stillbirth or, as the case may be examined the child, the estimated weight and gestational age of the child and if the stillbirth occurred in a hospital or other institution or the mother was treated in a hospital or other institution the name and address of the institution.
Where a stillbirth occurred prior to 1 January 1995 specific evidence must be produced at the point of registration to prove to the Registrar that a stillbirth has occurred. This evidence could comprise an authorative statement in writing from a hospital, a nursing home or midwife stating the date and place of birth, the weight and/or the gestational age of the stillborn child. The Registrar may accept, subject to approval from the Superintendent Registrar, other forms of evidence .
Details which must be recorded in the Register of Stillbirths.
The information recorded in the Register of Stillbirths is outlined below .
- The time, date and place of birth of the child.
- The gender of the child
- The weight and gestational age of child
- The personal public service number (PPSN) of child (this will be allocated at registration)
- Forename(s) and surname* of the child.
* The surname to be recorded for a child in the Register of Births should be carefully considered and the most appropriate surname assigned.
- The forename(e) and surname of the mother which will be the name by which the mother is/was ordinarily known at the time of the birth.
- The mother's birth surname
- Birth surname of mother's mother
- All other previously used surnames of the mother (if any) will be included in the Register.
- The mother's occupation, described as accurately as possible.
- The mother's normal address at the time of the birth (even if this has changed in the interim before date of registration).
- The mother's date of birth
- The mother's civil status at the time of the birth. (The terms “bachelor” and “spinster” are no longer in use. A person's civil status is either "single", "married", "widowed", "divorced", "separated", "civil partner", "former civil partner", or "surviving civil partner".
- The mother's personal public service number (this can be obtained from the Department of Social and Family Affairs by the mother, if it is not known to her).
- The father's forename(s), surname, birth surname, birth surname of father's mother, all previous surnames (if any), normal occupation, normal address, date of birth, civil status and PPSN will be recorded in the Register in a similar manner to the details relating to the mother.
A qualified informant, who must sign the Register in the presence of the Registrar attests to the accuracy of the information or facts given in the entry. In the majority of cases, either or both parents are the qualified informants .
Where should a stillbirth be registered and by whom?
A stillbirth may be registered in the office of any Registrar of Births. The registration will be carried out based on information provided by a qualified informant. The mother and father of a child are the primary qualified informants and, where possible, must attend personally for the registration of the stillbirth. Where parents do not act, a relative of either parent may act as a qualified informant .
What happens should the stillbirth not be registered within 12 months?
The authority in whose functional area the stillbirth occurred may request the hospital to act as informant and have the birth registered. Where no hospital is involved, the medical practitioner who attended the birth or examined the child or a midwife who attended the birth may be requested to act as informant to allow the stillbirth to be registered.
Obtaining a certificate of an entry in the Register of Stillbirths
Once registration has been completed a stillbirth certificate may be obtained from the Registrar. This is the only time a certificate can be obtained from the Registrar. After that, if a certificate is required it can be obtained from the General Register Office, Government Offices, Convent Road, Roscommon, Co. Roscommon.
Cost of Stillbirth Certificate
The cost of the certificate is €20.
It is extremely important that all relevant details should be recorded accurately in the Register of Stillbirths. Any subsequent correction of errors and inaccuracies can be a cause of inconvenience and expense to the parent(s) of the stillborn child.
Irish Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Society, Carmichael House, 4 North Brunswick Street , Dublin 7.
General Register Office,
Convent Road, Roscommon.
Tel: +353 (0) 90 6632900
LoCall: 1890 252076
Fax: +353 (0) 90 6632999
Fax: +353 (0) 90 6632988