Registering Births & Deaths
Births in England, Wales and Northern Ireland must be registered within 42 days of baby being born. In Scotland it’s 21 days. Deaths in England, Wales and Northern Ireland must be registered within 5 days and in Scotland it’s 8 days. These days include weekends and bank holidays.
Baby’s birth must be registered before baby’s death can be registered and baby’s death must be registered before the funeral can take place.
Usually baby’s birth is registered at the registry office to where the birth has occurred however, it may be possible to do so at a different registry office which can be helpful for parents who for example have had a in utero transfer with baby being born outside of area or who will be registering both their baby’s birth and death. Some hospitals may have a visiting registrar, please ask if this is an option available to you.
Registering a death would usually occur at the registry office local to the area where baby has died except for in Scotland where a death can be registered in any Scottish registry office.
The opening hours of registry offices varies between local authorities, some operate with an appointments system only. From parent experience an appointment is recommended, it can be helpful to inform the registry office at the time of making an appointment that baby has sadly died as this can support sensitivity in language and timing of an appointment offered. Search “Register Office for births, deaths, marriages online to get the telephone number of the registry office you require.
The registry office will be able to advise you beforehand of what information and identification you will need to bring with you, including a medical certificate for baby (issued by baby’s doctor) or in very rare circumstances in relation to NEC deaths permission from the coroner (Procurator Fiscal in Scotland) that you can register baby’s death.
Once registration has been completed you will receive baby’s birth/death certificates along with a certificate for a burial which is what you will need to give to the funeral director, or an application for cremation which you need to complete and give to the crematorium.
National charity SANDS have produced an information guide to help with arranging a funeral, Follow the link for further information and support: https://www.sands.org.uk/