​Parents' loss acknowledged through recognition certificates

Issued: Monday, 12 January 2015

The Baird Liberal & Nationals Government has moved to ensure families can have the tragedy of early pregnancy loss acknowledged with a recognition certificate, Attorney General and Minister for Justice Brad Hazzard announced today.

"Families who experience the loss of a baby early in a pregnancy have a difficult grieving process and often feel that their loss isn't recognised," Mr Hazzard said.

"Until now it has not been possible to receive formal recognition for the loss of a pregnancy before 20 weeks.

"At the request of the Government, NSW Registry of Births, Death and Marriages are issuing optional recognition certificates to parents who have experienced this tragedy.

"The recognition certificates are not legal documents but it is hoped that, at least in some small way, a formal recognition certificate will help.

"The legal distinction of 20 weeks for registering a stillbirth will remain as it is an important analytical tool used by health authorities but it is equally important to recognise the grief of early pregnancy loss."

President of the Australian College of Midwives Caroline Homer said it is important to recognise the impact that early pregnancy loss can have on women and their families.

"When a woman loses a baby she is not thinking in terms of what gestational age that baby has reached. She is thinking of the loss of dreams, hopes and possibilities," Professor Homer said.

"This in a small but significant way recognises that loss for women and families should they seek it and may provide some comfort in what is a very difficult time."

The certificates are free of charge, details and application forms can be accessed online at http://www.bdm.nsw.gov.au/

Parents' loss acknowledged through recognition certificates PDF [197kb]