We have some heartening news for those of you who've experienced a baby loss before 24 weeks.
For many years, parents in England have expressed their distress that their babies lost before 24 weeks are not formally recognised as a baby born and lost via stillbirth or neonatal death after 24 weeks would, in the form of an official birth and death certificate. This lack of recognition has left thousands of bereaved parents feeling like their lost baby has been disregarded, as if they never existed.
Thanks to the Women's Health Strategy, parents in England who experience baby loss before the official point of viability - 24 weeks in the UK - will be able to gain formal recognition that their baby existed at any stage, not just past viability! This week, the campaign was announced to have been a success!
The day has arrived! Over 8 years of campaigning & today it’s being announced. Every baby that has been lost can now be recognised! We hope this certificate can be backdated, which means no one will miss out however long ago their loss was. @mariacaulfield @10DowningStreet pic.twitter.com/YbIlwd80r9— Zoe Clark-Coates MBE (@ClarkCoates) July 20, 2022
What does this mean?
This means that parents in England who experience a loss before 24 weeks of pregnancy can request a certificate formally acknowledging this. The overall response in our parenting community has been incredibly positive, with parents telling us that this is a brilliant move that will not only validate their experience, but also give their lost baby more dignity by way of recognising that they did indeed exist - no matter how briefly.
"We're pleased it has finally been recognised that a child born before 24 weeks deserves the acknowledgement that any other human being receives. To many of our families who have sadly lost a baby before 24 weeks, this small gesture will mean the world, and provide recognition that their precious baby existed.
To discriminate between gestations only serves to belittle a loss before 24 weeks and we at the Lily Mae Foundation truly believe that a loss is devastating no matter what the gestation. The loss of an entire lifetime of hopes and dreams.”
When will the roll-out of the certificates begin?
There's no official date announced yet but campaign leaders hope that the option for a backdated certificate will be available for those of you who've lost babies in the past. Once a start date and strategy is announced, we'll update this article.
Baby loss is one of the most heartbreaking experiences any parent can go through, and it's not made any easier by the lack of recognition of babies born before 24 weeks - even if it's only by an arbitrary difference of a few hours! This certificate is a definite step forward in improving bereavement care for parents and treating baby loss with more compassion, and we send our utmost love to each and every one of you who have experienced baby loss at any stage.
Other articles to read...