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Pregnancy remains

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

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Fetal Remains

You may take the fetal remains away at any gestation and regardless of treatment type and make your own arrangements for them. This may include arranging a private service, burial or cremation. If you wish to take the remains away, we will place them in a container, which is opaque (you cannot see through it) and water-tight. The fetal remains will be inserted into the container in a bag made of biodegradable material.

You may contact a funeral service yourself to arrange a service, burial or cremation, we can help you with this.

We will give the remains to a funeral director or an authorised individual appointed by you. Before the procedure the funeral director must provide a suitable container for the remains and after the procedure the funeral director must collect the remains. You will need to cover the costs of this service although some funeral directors offer it for free or a nominal charge.

If you would like some 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 also contact a cemetery or crematorium directly.

Available services:

Special Care Foetal Cremations 

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.

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:

  • Pregnancy counselling icon

    Sands (stillbirth and neonatal death charity)

    Call: 020 7436 5881

  • Pregnancy counselling icon

    National Association of Funeral Directors

    Call: 0845 230 1343

  • Pregnancy counselling icon

    British Humanist Association (BHA)

    Call: 020 7324 3060

  • Pregnancy counselling icon

    Natural Death Centre

    Call: 01962 712 690

  • Pregnancy counselling icon

    Environment Agency

    Call: 03708 506 506