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Your wishes regarding the pregnancy remains

If you choose to take the pregnancy remains away with you after treatment – it is important that you understand the following information.

The law allows you to take the pregnancy remains away with you and to make your own arrangements for them. We will place the remains in a container which is opaque (you cannot see through it), water-tight and made of biodegradeable material.  If you intend to leave items (such as containers or mementoes) in public areas where the remains are buried or the ashes are buried/scattered - all materials used should be biodegradable.

Your options are:

 

Arrange a private service, burial or cremation

     

You could contact a funeral director to arrange a service, burial or cremation. If you would like specialist help with the service, for instance from a Humanist adviser or a community faith leader, a funeral director should be able to provide you with a relevant contact. You can contact a cemetery or crematorium direct. There will probably be a cost to you for a service, burial or cremation - but this need not be expensive. It may be worth approaching a number of funeral directors for information about their costs and services.

Burial on private land

   

You may bury the remains in your own garden or in another place which has a special meaning for you. Woodland or natural burial sites are available too (the Natural Death Centre can advise).

If you wish to bury the remains on private land, you need to know that:

  • you must have permission for the burial from the owner of the land
  • the burial or buried remains should not interfere with any rights that other people have over the land. For example, mortgage company with regard to resale of the property, or local council if the property is in a conservation area. It may be advisable to contact the relevant authority or company for advice.
  • no danger must be caused to others, for example through pollution of water or by contamination of neighbouring land by the natural decomposition of the remains
  • the remains should be buried at an appropriate depth (your local Environmental Health Department or the Environment Agency can advise)

If you intend to bury the remains in your garden, you should consider how you will feel if you move house, or if the land is used for a new purpose.

Scatter or bury the ashes

If you choose a communal cremation, no ashes are available afterwards. Because of the nature of the cremation process and the fragility of the pregnancy remains, there may be no ashes left after individual cremation either. If you feel that it is important to scatter ashes, you should discuss this with your funeral director or crematorium well before the cremation.

If you do have ashes, you can scatter or bury them:

  • at the crematorium, local churchyard or cemetery of your choice
  • at a place which has special meaning for you
  • or, you could keep them at home

You may scatter the ashes on water but not:

  • within 1km upstream of any drinking water supply
  • from a bridge over a river used by boaters or canoeists
  • near a marina or close to people fishing or bathing
  • during windy weather or close to buildings, where the ashes may be blown about

Contact details for more information and advice

The clinic can provide you with advice and contact details of funeral directors, cemeteries or crematoria.

Other organisations and authorities which can offer advice include:

Sands (stillbirth and neonatal death charity) - call: 020 7436 5881

National Association of Funeral Directors - call: 0845 230 1343

British Humanist Association (BHA) - call: 020 7324 3060

Natural Death Centre - call: 01962 712 690

Environment Agency - call: 03708 506 506