Updated: Aug 24, 2021
A feeling which many parents voice upon suffering pregnancy loss is emptiness. Where there should have been a baby, there is now a void. For early term miscarriages, this loss is exacerbated by the fact that, prior to 20 weeks gestation, no official birth certificates are issued. But did you know you may be able to apply for a commemorative birth certificate?
Australian law stipulates that in order to acquire the legal status of personhood, which is verified by a birth certificate, a baby must weigh at least 400g or be born at 20 weeks gestation or later. This news is often a shock to discover for those parents who are bereaved before their baby reaches the critical threshold.
In recognition of their bereavement however, state governments in almost all Australian states and territories offer ceremonial birth certificates for babies born below these given thresholds.
A commemorative birth certificate recognises a baby's existence in this world. While it cannot undo their loss, many parents still feel comforted by the recognition a certificate imparts.
These certificates tend to be decorative and respectful, such as the commemorative certificate in the state of Victoria (pictured), designed by Western Australian artist and bereaved mother Till Heike.
Where can I apply for my certificate?
Below you will find links to the relevant government departments which issue commemorative birth certificates in your state.