Baby loss certificates launched to 'recognise parents' grief' after miscarriage before 24 weeks - we share eligibility criteria and the application process

Parents who have lost a baby before 24 weeks can now apply for a baby loss certificate

An empty cot with a folded baby grown and toy rabbit inside
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The government has announced that baby loss certificates for parents who experienced a loss of pregnancy before 24 weeks are now available for application.

Miscarriages can occur at any time during pregnancy, but after 24 weeks they are known as a stillbirth, and the deaths are officially registered. However, this doesn't happen for babies who die before they reach that stage, despite it still being a devastating experience for the parents.

It can be difficult to know how to support someone who is suffering from baby loss, because even if they go on to have a rainbow baby, the grief is still there. However, in a positive step for grieving parents, the government has confirmed that from February 22, 2024 they will be able to apply for a certificate to have their grief recognised, via the website.

The move is part of the priorities set out in the government's Women’s Health Strategy for England and acts on recommendations from the Pregnancy Loss Review (informed by Tommy's, the UK's largest pregnancy and baby loss charity). It comes just a few months after the news that better mental health support will be given to all women who miscarry as part of a new trial.

GoodToKnow's Family Editor, Stephanie Lowe tells us; "This is a monumental move by the Government, made possible by Tommy's and their Miscarriage Matters campaign - because it does matter. Pregnancy loss can feel devastating and be utterly life-changing, no matter how far along you are. I lost my baby girl, Mae, at 18 weeks due to a rare chromosomal defect. I had to labour and give birth but it wasn't viewed as a death, even though my baby had died, and with her all the hopes and dreams I had for the little life that I was growing. Recognising, formally, the loss of a baby and for parents to see their baby's name written down and acknowledged holds more weight than you can ever know."

Why are baby loss certificates being introduced?

The independent Pregnancy Loss Review was first commissioned in 2018, and while it concluded that it currently may not be possible to prevent many pre 24 week pregnancy losses from occurring, it found that much more could be done to ensure each grieving parent receives excellent care and compassionate support.    

Now, parents who have experienced baby loss since September 2018 can apply for the certificate, as long as they are above 16 years old, lived in England when they lost their baby and live in England now. The government has not offered an explanation as to why eligibility only goes back five years.

Health and social care secretary Victoria Atkins said: "I’d like to thank charities and campaigners for their continuous work in bringing awareness to baby loss and making the certificates launching possible.  

"Improving women’s health care and maternity support is a priority, and this demonstrates progress in delivering our Women’s Health Strategy and ensuring parents feel supported during this heart-breaking experience."

Improvement to maternity care and birth trauma support were announced as a priority area within the women’s health strategy for England in 2024 - a vital plan to improve the health and wellbeing of women and girls. 

Meanwhile, Samantha Collinge, bereavement lead midwife at the George Eliot Hospital Trust in Nuneaton and co-chair of the Pregnancy Loss Review, said: "Miscarriage and other types of pre 24 weeks baby loss is often minimised and treated as a ‘clinical event’ or ‘just one of those things’ rather than the loss of a baby and sadly the emotional impact of the loss is often disregarded."

She added, "I hope that the introduction of a national certificate of baby loss will give bereaved parents the official recognition that their babies did exist and that their babies lives, however brief, really do matter."

To find out more about baby loss certificates, visit

In related news, we've detailed some of the early signs of a miscarriage, and spoken to the experts about how to maintain a relationship with your partner after the death of a child.

Ellie Hutchings
Family News Editor

Ellie is GoodtoKnow’s Family News Editor and covers all the latest trends in the parenting world - from relationship advice and baby names to wellbeing and self-care ideas for busy mums. Ellie is also an NCTJ-qualified journalist and has a distinction in MA Magazine Journalism from Nottingham Trent University and a first-class degree in Journalism from Cardiff University. Previously, Ellie has worked with BBC Good Food, The Big Issue, and the Nottingham Post, as well as freelancing as an arts and entertainment writer alongside her studies. When she’s not got her nose in a book, you’ll probably find Ellie jogging around her local park, indulging in an insta-worthy restaurant, or watching Netflix’s newest true crime documentary.