Sensitive Disposal Arrangements for Pregnancy Remains

Patient Leaflets Team

  • Reference Number: HEY-703/2015
  • Departments: Gynaecology


We are very sorry about your loss. We are talking to you now to avoid further distress. This leaflet explains the procedures that follow pregnancy loss, which may have occurred as a result of:

  • A miscarriage; this is when a pregnancy ends unexpectedly in the early months.
  • An ectopic pregnancy; this is when a pregnancy develops outside the womb and cannot continue.
  • Or it may be that you have had to make the difficult decision to end your pregnancy because of fetal abnormality.

The tissue from the pregnancy is often called “the products of conception”.

These are the choices available to you:

  1. The hospital will arrange a shared cremation with your consent, which is carried out at the crematorium in a sensitive and respectful manner. If you would like details of when this will happen, this can be given to you.
  2. However, if you wish individual cremation/burial, you may of course make your own arrangements but the hospital is unable to contribute to the costs.
  3. In all cases, the staff will ensure that your cultural and/or religious needs are respected.
  4. You are also legally allowed to take your pregnancy remains home to bury yourself. There are certain legal requirements that must be adhered to if you wish to do this, which are as follows:
  • The burial must not cause any danger to others.
  • It must not interfere with any rights other people may have on the land.
  • There must be no danger to water supplies or watercourses.
  • There must be no chance of bodily fluids leaking onto adjoining land.
  • The remains must be buried to a depth of at least 18 inches (45cm)
  • Permission must be obtained from the landowner if you do not own the land.
  • Careful thought needs to be given when considering burial in a garden, taking into account what would happen if you choose to move.

Further Information

This leaflet was produced by the Gynaecology Department, Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and will be reviewed in August 2018.

Should you require further advice on the issues contained in this leaflet, please do not hesitate to contact:
Early Pregnancy Assessment Unit (EPAU) / Emergency Gynaecology Unit (EGU) (01482) 608767
Women and Children’s Hospital Gynaecology Ward (01482) 604387

General Advice and Consent

Most of your questions should have been answered by this leaflet, but remember that this is only a starting point for discussion with the healthcare team.

Consent to treatment

Before any doctor, nurse or therapist examines or treats you, they must seek your consent or permission. In order to make a decision, you need to have information from health professionals about the treatment or investigation which is being offered to you. You should always ask them more questions if you do not understand or if you want more information.

The information you receive should be about your condition, the alternatives available to you, and whether it carries risks as well as the benefits. What is important is that your consent is genuine or valid. That means:

  • you must be able to give your consent
  • you must be given enough information to enable you to make a decision
  • you must be acting under your own free will and not under the strong influence of another person

Information about you

We collect and use your information to provide you with care and treatment. As part of your care, information about you will be shared between members of a healthcare team, some of whom you may not meet. Your information may also be used to help train staff, to check the quality of our care, to manage and plan the health service, and to help with research. Wherever possible we use anonymous data.

We may pass on relevant information to other health organisations that provide you with care. All information is treated as strictly confidential and is not given to anyone who does not need it. If you have any concerns please ask your doctor, or the person caring for you.

Under the General Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Act 2018 we are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of any information we hold about you. For further information visit the following page: Confidential Information about You.

If you or your carer needs information about your health and wellbeing and about your care and treatment in a different format, such as large print, braille or audio, due to disability, impairment or sensory loss, please advise a member of staff and this can be arranged.

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