Recognising early pregnancy loss

Commemorative Early Pregnancy Loss Certificates are now available to parents who have lost a baby before 20 weeks gestation where a birth certificate is not available.

Minister for Human Rights Tara Cheyne said the certificates provide meaningful recognition and acknowledgment of the loss experienced by families.

“A loss of a loved and wanted pregnancy can be so heartbreaking and traumatic for parents, and for many bereaved families it is important to recognise that loss,” Minister Cheyne said.

“Today is international Pregnancy and Early Loss Remembrance Day, which we formally recognised in the ACT Assembly last week. We pause to acknowledge and reflect on the magnitude of the loss and the impact it has on our ACT community.

“From today, the ACT is also proud to begin offering an early pregnancy loss certificate, which may help parents in the grieving process.

“Parents can choose between several certificate designs which use artworks specially commissioned for this purpose. One design, with two different colour options, has been developed by Canberra based Aboriginal artist Kayannie Denigan and represents the enduring connection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children to their families.”

Another certificate designed by local Canberra artist Rebecca Tregurtha depicts native flora including the Royal Bluebell, the ACT floral emblem.

A third design by Western Australian artist Till Heike, who has experienced early pregnancy loss, includes butterflies. Ms Heike said the use of butterflies in her design reflects, “the feeling of loving your child even when you cannot hold them, the idea of beauty continuing to reside as memory.”

Importantly, the early pregnancy loss certificates will be available retrospectively, so any parent who has experienced early pregnancy loss in the ACT, at any time in the past, can apply for a certificate to honour their child, even if they no longer reside in the ACT.

“I hope these certificates will provide some support and comfort to parents,” Ms Cheyne said.

Welcoming the new certificates in the ACT is Bonnie Carter, a mother of three daughters – two of whom tragically died during pregnancy.

“I hope the early pregnancy loss certificates will provide some comfort to families by having their child officially acknowledged,” Ms Carter said.

“Early pregnancy loss is a silent and lonely place for women and their families so I hope the new certificates will also help break that silence and encourage people to talk about these devastating losses.”

“On a personal level, I will feel more peace as all my children will now be recognised through either birth certificates or an early pregnancy loss certificate.”

The early pregnancy loss certificates are available where a pregnancy has been lost in the ACT before 20 weeks gestation. To apply for an early pregnancy loss certificate, apply online via the Access Canberra website. The certificates will be issued free of charge.

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