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Registration of pregnancy loss before 24 weeks’ gestation

Date: May 2018


Tim Loughton MP has presented a Private Member’s Bill, the Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration Etc.) Bill 2017-19, to the Westminster Parliament. This Bill includes a request to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to consider the law on registering pregnancy losses that happen before 24 weeks’ gestation.

Alongside this, the Secretary of State has commissioned a Pregnancy Loss Review of care and support when baby loss occurs before 24 weeks’ gestation.

Both the Bill and the Review focus on whether the law ought to be changed either to allow the registration of pre-24 week pregnancy losses (so that this is a personal choice) or to require it (so it is a legal requirement).

At present, if a baby is stillborn (born dead) from 24 weeks of pregnancy, the stillbirth must be registered. Currently, it is not possible to register a pregnancy loss before 24 weeks’ gestation.

Our position

In developing this position, we have consulted with our members, supporters and social media followers via an online survey, receiving over 2,500 responses. We have also undertaken external discussions with partners in the charity and health sectors, as well as internal discussions within the Miscarriage Association.

Registration of a pregnancy loss (miscarriage, ectopic or molar pregnancy) before 24 weeks’ gestation is clearly an important and emotive issue. Many of those affected would greatly value having some formal recognition of their loss or their child, and say this could be a vital part of the grieving process. The absence of the opportunity or right to register a loss pre-24 week gestation weighs heavy on many people who have experienced losses earlier in pregnancy.

Conversely, others feel that registration might add to their distress, while some do not feel the need for formal recognition or do not ascribe the same meaning to their pregnancy loss.

In developing our position, we acknowledge this wide range of opinions and experiences represented by our stakeholders, while drawing out proposals that we feel will promote greater choice.

We support: 

We support this change in the law under the following conditions:

We do not support: