‘The baby I lost at 23 weeks must be officially recognised’

A mother who had a miscarriage at 23 weeks is fighting to have her baby’s life recognised by the state.

Sarah Henderson, who gave birth to her daughter Rowan less than six months into her pregnancy, has no official record of her existence.

UK law states that stillborn babies born before the 24-week abortion limit are not recorded on a birth certificate or a death certificate.

Tragic loss

At her 20-week scan Sarah and her husband Nick were told their baby had cardiomyopathy, a condition which affects the thickness of heart muscle.

Tragically, just three weeks later, they learned that their daughter had died.

Sarah was induced immediately and baby Rowan was born weighing 1lb 5oz.

‘She was perfect’

She told the Daily Mail: “A lot of people will say all premature babies look the same but they don’t. Not to their mum and dad. She was perfect.

“We spoke to her. We told her about her sister and how much she was loved, then wrote notes she would be buried with.”

The couple were told that because she was born before 24 weeks, they would not be issued with a birth certificate.

Acknowledgement

Sarah said, “there’s nowhere that says she even existed. It’s not anywhere. If our grandchildren wanted to look back through our history, she would not be there.

“We wanted her birth to be acknowledged and for people to know she was wanted and cared for”, she added.

Sarah decided to start a petition on Change.org, thinking that other parents may feel the same as her.

Petition

It calls for the Government to change the law so that babies born after 20 weeks – alive or dead – would be recorded on a birth certificate.

She has also admitted that she was naïve to suggest 20 weeks, saying that babies born before that limit should be included too.

The petition already has more than 300,000 signatures and her story has been widely reported.

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