Registering a stillbirth

Last updated: 12 November 2019

If you or your partner have a stillbirth, you must register it within 21 days.

Find out how to get support for the loss of your child.

How to register a stillbirth

You can do this by going any of the local registration offices in Scotland.

A registrar is responsible for creating records about the key life events of people living in Scotland.

When you go to the registrar, you'll need to take a copy of:

  • the stillbirth certificate from the hospital or your doctor
  • your marriage or civil partnership certificate if you're married to your partner

After the registration process has been completed, the registrar will give you a certificate of registration of stillbirth. You might be asked for this if you decide to bury or cremate your child.

Who can register a stillbirth

It should be the child's mother or other parent who registers the stillbirth. The other parent can only do this if:

  • they're married or in a civil partnership with the child's mother
  • the other parent is a man, and there's a signed declaration that he's the father

If the other parent is a woman

If the couple is not married or in a civil partnership, the other mother can only register the stillbirth if:

  • 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
  • a court declares that she is the parent and the mother registers the stillbirth

If the mother is unwell or dies during the stillbirth

The following people can register the stillbirth if the mother is unable to do so:

  • a relative of the mother
  • a relative of the other parent, if he or she is married or in a civil partnership with the mother
  • the owner of the place where the stillbirth took place
  • anyone who was there when the stillbirth happened, or otherwise has knowledge of the event (for example, a funeral director)

If the stillbirth happens abroad

You should follow the rules of the country you're in and try to get a certificate of the stillbirth. Contact the British embassy or consulate if you're having any problems.

You can find a list of British embassies and consulates on the GOV.UK website.

Further information

Contact National Records of Scotland's General Registration Unit by:

Post: National Records of Scotland
General Registration Unit
Room 35
New Register House
3 West Register Street


Phone: 0131 314 4452