Eastbourne MP Caroline Ansell has welcomed the launch of the Baby Loss Certificate Service that recognises a child born before 24 weeks for the first time.

Caroline has previously spoken of the miscarriage of her daughter and said the move would give comfort to families and acknowledge that a life was lost.

The voluntary scheme will enable parents who have experienced a pre-24 weeks baby or pregnancy loss to record and receive a certificate to provide recognition of their child.

“This seemingly small but significant recognition of a little life is an inherently good thing,” the MP said.

“Having experienced miscarriage myself, I know what this will mean to women and families out there. I lost my first baby, a little girl, many years ago but you never stop counting the loss. She would be 25 now.”

Caroline said the care she received at the DGH during the worst experience of her life was outstanding.

“In one way I think I was very fortunate,” she explained. “There’s a far better understanding now about miscarriage now, not so much then, but I think staff at the DGH were ahead of their time.

“I was pretty out of it after the trauma of labour but my midwives had the foresight to arrange to take my baby’s footprints for me to have later. They are a treasure to me now, all these years on.”

She added: “For bereaved parents to be able to apply to have the certificate announced today will, I hope, give some comfort and more recognition for the little life they mourn.”    

The scheme, announced by Lewes MP and health minister Maria Caulfield, was first suggested by the Independent Pregnancy Loss Review in 2023.

Either parent is entitled to a Certificate of Baby Loss if they have experienced a loss under 24 weeks gestation, are at least 16 years of age, and at least one parent was living in England at the time of the loss.

The minister added the certificate would be offered on a retrospective basis to those who have already experienced a baby loss.

“Initially, this will be available to those who have experienced a loss since 1 September 2018,” she said.

“This will be continually assessed, and we will extend eligibility as soon as we can.”

She added: “Delivering this important service highlights our continued commitment to delivering on the Women’s Health Strategy and is an important step forward in supporting parents to provide recognition of a life lost.”

Photo – Caroline tying a ribbon to Eastbourne’s Tree of Light for her baby girl that she lost.