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New reform will allow stillbirths to be recorded publicly

New reforms to allow families to record a stillbirth on a public register will help parents to celebrate their children and change societal attitudes on stillbirths, the Regional Coordinator for Féileacáin has said.

Féileacáin, a stillbirth and neonatal death support charity, welcomed proposals that will allow stillborn infants to be named on a public register, should their parents choose to do so.

The stillbirth register will remain private but parents have the opportunity to make this information publicly available.

The charity’s Regional Director Nina Doyle, who suffered the loss of twins Liam and Grace in 2018, said it was of vital importance that parents have this choice.

“It is so important because in the past there was taboo, a stigma [about stillbirths], and when there is register that is hidden it implies that your babies shouldn’t be spoken about,” she told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.

“We love talking about our children. We don’t want to hide them, we want to celebrate them.

“This will enable us to do that. When the legislation changes, societal attitudes also will change.”

Nina Doyle said she wants to celebrate both of her children

Ms Doyle explained that her son Liam died just before he was born and her daughter Grace lived for 31 minutes.

This allowed Nina and her partner to be given a birth and death certificate for Grace, which is a public record.

While Liam was registered as a stillbirth – a private record – this meant that should anyone look up her records in future it would have appeared that she had only lost one child and would not know that Grace was a twin.

She said she was “delighted” when Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys met with her and she was able to share Liam and Grace’s stories.

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