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Welsh Government urged to roll out baby loss certificate scheme for bereaved parents

07 May 2024 4 minute read
Delyth Jewell MS speaking during FMQs

Emily Price

The Welsh Government has been urged to consider rolling out a scheme similar to the UK Government which provides baby loss certificates for bereaved parents who lose babies before 24 weeks.

Plaid Cymru MS, Delyth Jewell made the call directly to Vaughan Gething, during First Minister’s Questions on Tuesday (May 7).

She says support is desperately needed in Wales for mothers to babies who were “never born”.

The UK Government’s baby loss certificate scheme was launched in February this year.

The voluntary scheme is designed to formally recognise the devastating loss of a baby during pregnancy.

The UK Government said it hopes the scheme will help bereaved parents to feel supported through their grief and recognise their loss, acknowledging their pain and ensuring they feel heard.

The certificates will not be compulsory – it remains the choice of all parents to manage the difficult time of a loss, however they see fit.

However, the scheme does not apply to people living in Wales.

Speaking in the Senedd, Ms Jewell asked whether the Welsh Government has its own plans to roll out a similar scheme as a “memory for parents that their babies existed, and were loved”.


She said: “Baby loss affects far more mothers and fathers than we realise. Families lose their babies at different stages of pregnancy, and not everyone feels able to talk about their grief.

“If a baby is lost before 24 weeks, they don’t even have to be registered officially, and that can hinder parents from grieving.

“The UK Government has recently begun a baby loss certificate scheme for parents whose babies leave them before 24 weeks.

“It’s a voluntary certificate – nobody is forced to have it – but it can help parents come to terms with their loss, because support is desperately needed for women who were mothers to babies that were never born.”

The First Minister said he was happy to have conversations with the Cabinet Secretary for Health and the Early Years Minister on whether a similar scheme could be rolled out in Wales.

He said: “If it helps people to be able to acknowledge, and, then, to try and move on with the loss at an early stage, then I’d be very happy for us to think seriously about how we could do that in a consistent way across the country.”

Tory MS, Janet Finch Saunders thanked Ms Jewell for raising the issue and described her own sad experience of delivering her baby at 24 weeks some years ago.

She said: “I went in and came back with nothing, and I do feel that when you’ve carried a baby for 24 weeks, it’s a long time – it’s not far.

“But the good news today is that, as a result of medical advancements, the chances for premature babies to survive have increased dramatically in the last 10 years.

“With this, though, comes additional pressure on the neonatal staffing ratios for the wraparound care that premature babies require.”

Mr Gething responded saying that giving children the best start in life was a “key aspect” he wanted the Welsh Government to focus on.

He said: “It’s why I’ve reiterated the focus on the first 1,000 days in a child’s life, whether that is a premature baby that is born and survives, and how they’re supported or not.

“And, actually, we know there are, not just challenges, but real opportunities in how we better support parents through that phase.”

A Senedd petition was launched earlier this year calling for Welsh families who have experienced baby loss before 24 weeks to be able to obtain a baby loss certificate.

The petition description states: “The UK government have introduced baby loss certificates for families in England who have lost babies prior to 24 weeks. This doesn’t apply to Welsh families. Let’s get this changed.”

It has so far collected enough signatures to be discussed by the Petitions Committee and will remain live until August 2024.

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