Obligations to say goodbye to baby

If a child is born lifeless after a pregnancy that has lasted longer than 24 weeks, the parents are obliged to make a declaration. This takes place at the Civil Registry of the municipality where the delivery took place, so that a leave for burial or cremation can be issued. If the father is absent or unable to make the birth declaration, someone else who was present at the birth may file a report. The mother is always authorized to make a declaration.
The hospital or funeral director can also make the declaration for you.

The civil code stipulates that an act of a lifeless child is drawn up. The civil code does not commit a term to the length of the pregnancy, so a deed can also be drawn up if the pregnancy has lasted less than 24 weeks. The deed is recorded in the death register of the municipality where the birth of the stillborn child took place. When making this deed, the law makes a distinction between:

  • whether the child was actually born dead, and
  • or that the child died shortly before the declaration.

In the latter case, both a birth certificate is included in the birth register and a death certificate in the death register.
If the name of the stillborn child is given before the birth, the name will not apply to later children of the parent. They have to make a name change for the next child that is born.


To arrange the entire funeral, you can contact a funeral company. The choice is entirely yours. Maybe you have previous experiences with a particular company, or do you just want one in the neighborhood. The funeral director will, together with you, arrange the entire funeral of your child, exactly as you wish. You decide everything yourself, he only carries out your wishes. Of course he can also inform you extensively about all possibilities.

Burial or cremation

When your child is born after a 24-week gestation period, there are official rules that must be observed.
You will have to decide in a short time whether your child is being buried or cremated.
In a stillborn child after a pregnancy that was shorter than 24 weeks, you can decide for yourself what you want. Burial or cremation is then not mandatory. You can also decide to leave your child in the hospital so that he is cremated collectively at a later date. You are also free to take your child home and to bury yourself, for example in your garden.

Health insurance company

When your child is born dead, you do not have to give it to your health insurance company. Any bills will fall under the policy of the mother. If your child is born alive, he must be registered with a health insurance company. This must be done within a reasonable period of time *. If your child dies after a few days, his death must also be passed on. Both the passing on of his birth and his death can be done by telephone.
For your child, often by the hospital, separate costs are incurred. These costs will be declared by the hospital to the health insurance company. For this it is necessary to arrange e.e.a. on time and well.

* A telephone interview with Delta Lloyd tells us that a 'reasonable term' lasts about 30 days.

What does the law say

The law does not recognize children who have been born lifeless from 16 weeks * to 24 weeks of gestation.
This sounds sober and harsh and is difficult to accept for the parents concerned, especially because your child has been very substantial and tangible for weeks. Fortunately, it is possible to bury or cremate your child.
From 16 to 24 weeks the regulations are a bit of a gray area. Up to 24 weeks, the child is legally not yet viable, but has the right to live. Until a birth of 24 weeks, it is not mandatory to declare your child at the Civil Registry. However, if you want your child to be registered in the Population Register - and thus receive a death certificate - the Civil Status is legally obliged to do so in case law. The number of weeks the lower limit is unclear.
From 24 weeks reporting to the Civil Registry of the municipality where the birth took place is mandatory. The Law on Corpse Delivery states that under lifeless indication, a stillborn baby of 24 weeks or older falls. You will receive an 'act of a lifeless born child'; it is also possible to officially register the baby in the marriage certificate under Born and Died. Take your marriage certificate with you if you want to have your child credited (it often happens that the funeral director arranges all this).
No declaration of birth is made, but only of death. Birth registration is only done if the child has lived, even if only for a short while. (above 24 weeks of pregnancy). Under 24 weeks of pregnancy the child must have lived more than 24 hours, then declaration of birth and death must be made. Act of death is not mandatory under 24 weeks, but it is allowed.
* Up to 16 weeks we speak of a miscarriage or spontaneous abortion. Because there is no question of viability, your child does not 'exist' for the law for that time.

Rules and laws

Search for recognition: Recognition in stillborn children

Sometimes the rules are not equally clear to everyone. Sometimes the law does not work and the judges create clarity. Sometimes it pays to know the seam of the stocking, especially when it comes to recognition of your child. In this case your stillborn child. Femke S. started a quest to get her deceased nephew, Emile, recognized. She sent the results of her search to us so that other parents do not have to fight against the same chaos and incomprehension. Here her experience, with the necessary jurisprudence!

Video: Manhattans - Kiss And Say Goodbye (1976)

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