We realise that this is a very difficult and distressing time for you. Therefore, in addition to this page, there will be the opportunity for you to speak with ward staff or with one of the hospital chaplains who can explain this process further and offer you support.
The information here will help you have a better understanding of what happens to your baby after your loss and explains the difficult choices and decisions you will need to make.
Unfortunately, you will need to make some difficult choices with regards to testing and funeral arrangements for your baby.
We will need you to sign a consent form once you have made your decision. In this document we will use the word ‘baby’ when referring to your baby /fetus or fetal tissue.
What will happen to my baby?
Many parents worry about what will happen to their baby following a pregnancy loss. All our staff are trained to support you at this difficult time. We aim to treat you and your baby with dignity and respect at all times.
We will support you if you wish to see and hold your baby. Mementoes such as scan photos, memory boxes or photographs may help if available.
Further information will be available from the nurse or midwife looking after you. Once you have been discharged from hospital and any test samples have been obtained, your baby will be taken to the hospital mortuary where your baby will be kept until the funeral.
Investigations and consent for examination
Please understand that we will not perform any tests without your consent but if you do give it, the results are unlikely to tell us why you have lost your baby.
The following sections explain more about tests that may be offered following the loss of your baby.
This is sometimes offered following a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy.
Unfortunately, this test will not tell us why you have lost your baby. It is performed to confirm that the tissue that you have passed, or tissue removed at the time of surgery, is definitely pregnancy tissue. It is also used to exclude a rare form of miscarriage called hydatidiform mole.
The test involves a small piece of pregnancy tissue being dissected, stained with chemicals and closely examined under a microscope. This sample is stored on a glass slide and needs to be retained for several years as part of your medical record. Sometimes there will be no remaining pregnancy tissue on completion of this test. Any remaining tissue will be disposed of by a shared cremation at your local crematorium.
It can take up to six weeks for us to receive these test results. Most of the time, the result will be normal. You will only be contacted about these results if we are concerned you may need further investigation or treatment.
You can request to organise your baby’s cremation service before the histology has been returned so that this isn’t delayed. Please let a member of staff know.
Genetic testing is only offered in rare circumstances such as late miscarriage, recurrent miscarriage (three or more miscarriages in a row) or if a genetic abnormality is suspected. The decision to undertake genetic testing should be discussed in detail with your Consultant.
Genetic testing will not tell us why you have miscarried, but it may identify if the baby
had a genetic abnormality.
The test can be done on a small piece of placental tissue. This testing is undertaken at a specialist laboratory at Sheffield Women’s Hospital. It may take several weeks for the results to be made available. Any remaining tissue will be disposed of by a shared cremation at your local crematorium.
Post Mortem Examination
A post mortem examination is only offered in rare circumstances of late miscarriage or termination of pregnancy for fetal abnormality. The decision to undertake a post mortem examination will be discussed in detail with your Consultant and you will be asked to sign a separate consent form.
If you have consented to a post mortem examination or detailed examination of your
baby, a pathologist in Sheffield will perform the examination.
If an examination or post mortem examination is required, there may be a delay in the funeral taking place as it takes up to two – three weeks for the baby to be returned to
the hospital mortuary.
It can take up to 12 weeks for the hospital to receive results of the post mortem examination. However, your initial plans can be discussed with the Chaplain as soon as you are ready and before the results are available. Any remaining tissue will eventually be returned to the hospital mortuary to be handled in a sensitive manner in line with your wishes.
There are several funeral arrangement options available to you as described below.
These options will be discussed with you by your nurse, midwife or doctor, and you will
be asked to sign a consent form on your preferred choice once you have made your
A Hospital Chaplain can also be available to help you with this decision.
Shared cremations are arranged and paid for by the hospital on your behalf. It is not possible for parents to attend the crematorium for this service.
Your baby will be individually identified and placed in an enclosed box.
Cremation of your baby will take place at the same time as other baby cremations at your local crematorium.
Prayers of committal will be said before the cremation.
Sadly, it is not possible to retrieve any ashes for your individual baby following a shared cremation. However, any cremated remains are scattered in a dignified manner in a memorial garden at the respective cemeteries.
At Grimsby crematorium, the baby memorial area is in Plot O. At Scunthorpe, ashes are scattered around a special memorial stone in the baby memorial garden.
Should you have any further questions about shared cremation please contact the Hospital Chaplaincy service on the following number: 03033 302489
Individual cremation without an Undertaker
It may be possible to make arrangements for an individual cremation for your baby via the Hospital Chaplain.
This is a short service at the crematorium, that parents are able to attend and for which you can choose some music.
It should be possible for any remaining ashes to be returned to you following individual cremation. Details regarding collection and contact numbers will be given at the time of the cremation. The hospital chaplain will also be able to advise you on this.
Alternatively, cremated remains are scattered in a dignified manner in a memorial garden at the respective cemeteries. At Grimsby crematorium, the baby memorial area is in Plot O. At Scunthorpe, ashes are scattered around a special memorial stone in the baby memorial garden.
At Scunthorpe, individual cremations are carried out on Thursday mornings from 8.45 until 9.30am. The Hospital Chaplain performs a short service.
There is no set day for individual cremations in Grimsby. The Hospital Chaplain will be able to liaise with you about the date and time of the cremation service.
Should you have any further questions about individual cremation please contact the
Hospital Chaplaincy service on the following number: 03033 302489
Individual burial arranged by the Hospital
Unfortunately, it is not usually possible for the hospital to make arrangements for burial of your baby unless you request this for specific cultural reasons. A burial may incur a charge that you will have to pay. The Hospital Chaplain is best placed to advise you about this.
Should you have any further questions about individual burial please contact your own religious advisor or the Hospital Chaplaincy service on the following number: 03033 302489
Private cremation or burial by an Undertaker
It is possible to make arrangements for an individual cremation or burial for your baby by an undertaker of your choice. You would need to make contact with a local funeral director, who will then help you to make decisions about what type of service you would like.
Some funeral directors provide this service for free, but costs may be incurred depending on your individual requirements.
Alternatively, you may wish to contact your own religious advisor directly.
Careful thought must be given when considering a burial at home. For example, you will need to consider what would happen if you moved house, or if the land is used for a new purpose in the future.
Written permission must be obtained from the landowner if you do not own the land where a burial is to take place.
If you are collecting your baby yourself you must remember to bring a suitable container with you.
Small caskets are available from your local undertaker or may be available from the Gynaecology Ward. Collection must be made by prior arrangement with the mortuary staff.
SANDS guidelines recommend that for burial of a baby under 24 weeks gestation, the grave is at a depth of at least 18 inches (45 cms).
The grave also must not:
- Cause any dangers to others
- Interfere with any rights other people may have on the land
- Be a danger to water supplies or watercourses
- There must also be no chance of bodily fluids leaking into or onto adjoining land
You may find that it is difficult to think things through at the moment. This can be normal after losing a baby.
After a few months, or even a couple of years, you may begin to want to talk about what has happened. You are welcome to phone the Chaplaincy Department to arrange to see the Chaplain, or you may like to join a baby loss support group. The Chaplains will be able to give you more details of these. The Bereavement Midwife may also be able to offer support.
Please contact your Nurse or Midwife, Bereavement Midwife or Hospital Chaplain if you have any further questions or if you need further support.
We welcome your suggestions on the service that we offer. If you have any comments or suggestions, please speak to your Nurse, Midwife, Bereavement Midwife or Hospital Chaplain.
National support groups
The Miscarriage Association
C/o Clayton Hospital
Telephone: 01924 200799 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm)
SANDS (Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Society)
28 Portland Place
Telephone: 0808 164 3332
Local support groups
Grimsby and Cleethorpes SANDS (Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Society)
Meets on the first Wednesday of every month between 7.30pm-9.30pm at the Holiday Inn Express, 3-9 Wellowgate, Grimsby. DN32 0RA
Local helpline: 07548 355913
Scunthorpe SANDS (Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Society)
Meets on the second Wednesday of every month between 7.15pm and 9.15pm at 1 Printers Yard, Fenton Street, Scunthorpe, DN156QX
Local helpline: 07522938821
Date of Issue: July, 2022
Review Period: July, 2025