National Records of Scotland

Preserving the past, Recording the present, Informing the future

Registering a Stillbirth

Registering a Stillbirth

What if I have a Stillbirth?

Any stillbirth which occurs in Scotland must be registered within twenty-one days by the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages. The law allows a stillbirth to be registered in any registration district in Scotland. You can obtain the address of the local registrar from the hospital, the doctor, the telephone book (see under 'Registration of Births, Death and Marriages') and the Directory of Registrars in Scotland (70 KB PDF file).

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The opening hours of registration offices varies between local authorities and some operate an appointments system.  You should therefore check with the relevant local authority before attending an office.

Who can Register a Stillbirth in Scotland?

A child's mother or father/parent has a duty to register the stillbirth. In the case of the death or inability of the mother or father/parent, the following persons can register the stillbirth:

  • Any relative of the mother or father/parent, if he or she is married to or in a civil partnership with the mother, being a relative who has knowledge of the stillbirth;
  • The occupier of the premises in which the stillbirth, to the knowledge of that occupier, took place;
  • Any person present at the stillbirth;

A father who is not married to the mother can only register the stillbirth and be named in the register as the father if:

  • He jointly signs the register with the mother;
  • He and the mother sign declarations (these are available from the registrar) that he is the father; or
  • A court declares that he is the father and the mother registers the stillbirth.

A woman who is not married to, or in a civil partnership with, the mother can only register the stillbirth and be named in the register as parent if the provisions of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008 apply to them and:

  • She jointly signs the register with the mother;
  • She and the mother sign declarations (these are available from the registrar) that she is the parent; or
  • A court declares that she is the parent and the mother registers the stillbirth.

What Documents should I take to the Registrar?

You should take with you:

  • The certificate of stillbirth;
  • The marriage or civil partnership certificate of the child's parents.

When the registration is complete the registrar will give you, free of charge:

  • A certificate of registration of stillbirth for production to the person in charge of the burial ground or crematorium;
  • If one of the parents registers the stillbirth and requests it, an extract of the entry in the register.

What if the Stillbirth Occurs Abroad?

You should register the stillbirth according to local regulations in the country concerned and obtain a certificate of the stillbirth. There is no facility available to register the stillbirth with the British Consul in that country.

How do I obtain an extract from an entry in the Register of Still-Births?

Extracts of still-birth records from 1939 onwards are available from National Records of Scotland for a fee. Due to the sensitive nature of still-birth registrations, these extracts are usually only issued to the parents of the still-born child.  However, siblings of still-born children may apply, either with the express consent of a parent, or on their own behalf, where they can demonstrate that their parents are no longer alive.

Where no name was recorded for the still-born child at the time of registration, a name can be added at the request of the parents. It is not possible for siblings to request names to be added.

Application forms can be obtained from:

National Records of Scotland
General Registration Unit
Room 35
New Register House
3 West Register Street
Edinburgh
EH1 3YT

Email: grusupport@nrscotland.gov.uk

Telephone: 0131 314 4452

Or by downloading the form.