Registering a stillbirth

Any stillbirth which occurs in Scotland must be registered within 21 days. The law allows a stillbirth to be registered in any registration district in Scotland.

How do I make an appointment?

Call our Customer Services on 0300 123 4510 from Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm or call into any of our community hubs to arrange your appointment. If you need to change or cancel your appointment please contact us as soon as possible.

Who can register a stillbirth?

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

  • any relative of the mother or father, if he is married to 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
  • a court declares that he is the father 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 certificate of the child's parents.

If no certificate of stillbirth is produced, the registration may proceed after the informant has signed a form of declaration as to stillbirth.

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 Stillbirths?

Extracts of stillbirth records from 1939 onwards are available from the General Register Office for Scotland for a fee. Due to the sensitive nature of stillbirth registrations, these extracts are usually only issued to the parents of the stillborn child. However, siblings of stillborn 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 stillborn 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:

General Registration Unit
General Register Office for Scotland
New Register House
3 West Register Street
EDINBURGH
EH1 3YT