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Certificate of Stillbirth

On behalf of the team at Star Legacy Foundation, we wanted to offer our sincere condolences for the need for you to apply for this certificate to honor your beautiful baby/babies.  

Prior to the existence of these certificates, stillborn babies did not receive any form of a recognition of life.  We are forever grateful to all of the advocates who worked tirelessly to pass legislation to make these certificates available to families.

about the certificate of stillbirth/Certificate of Birth Resulting in Stillbirth

What is a Certificate of Stillbirth?

The Certificate of Stillbirth is a document issued by the each state’s office of Vital Records.

What is the history behind the Certificate of Stillbirth?

This effort was originally started by the MISS Foundation in an effort to have stillborn babies recognized.  Prior to these efforts, stillborn babies did not receive any acknowledgement of their birth.

Does every state call this document a Certificate of Stillbirth?

No.  Below are some variations of the name of this certificate:

  • Certificate of Stillbirth/Still Birth (CoS)
  • Certificate of Birth Resulting in Stillbirth (CBRS)

Although they are both worded very similarly, a “Certificate of Birth Resulting in Stillbirth” and a “Certificate of Stillbirth” are not the same thing. Legislators, Policy Analysts, and State Health Departments agree, there is a subtle, yet immense difference in the two. The MISS Foundation believes that all states should record births as births… whether live or still.  The goal, for those states that offer a “Certificate of Stillbirth”, is to legislatively change the certificate to a “Certificate of Birth Resulting in Stillbirth” – which we view as a “BIRTH” certificate. 

Is the Certificate of Stillbirth different than a Fetal Death Certificate or Birth Certificate?

Yes.  The CBRS/CoS is a commemorative document that recognizes the life of a stillborn baby since they sadly do not receive an official Birth Certificate.  The Fetal Death Certificate (FDC) is a required form the hospital fills out and sends to the state health department.  The FDC often needed to apply for a CBRS/CoS.  A CBRS/CoS resembles a Birth Certificate more than a Fetal Death Certificate.

Is the Certificate of Stillbirth an official document?

It depends.  Some select states do use the CBRS/CoS as an official document for tax purposes and others it is a commemorative document. 

If your state offers a tax credit or deduction, we have listed this in our resource guide as well.  Please consult with a tax professional as legislation is an ongoing process.

What if my state does not offer this certificate?

We are so sorry that your state currently does not offer this document.  If you would like to learn how to advocate for legislation, please complete our volunteer form and select Legislative/Advocacy.

Resource Guide By State

Star Legacy Foundation created a resource guide by state to help you navigate how to apply for and receive your baby’s certificate.  Each state has:

  • the cost of the certificate
  • application (when applicable)
  • important websites
  • any other important information

Please note:  We currently do not have sample images for all states.  If you have an image you would be willing to share with us, please email us a picture.  Thank you to all of the families who shared their images with us already.

Important information

  • The Certificate of Birth Resulting in Stillbirth (CBRS)/Certificate of Stillbirth (CoS) is a document you need to request after the loss of your baby and is typically not an automatic form like a Living Birth Certificate (unless specified in our resource guide). Many of these forms have a small fee associated with them.  In some states, the certificate may look differently depending on your county of residence.
  • We recommend sending a photocopy of your baby’s Fetal Death Certificate (if possible) with your application, even if the form does not specify to do so.  This record can be obtained from the hospital where you delivered your baby in some states but not all.  Please note that not all states give this document to families.
  • Many states allow you to apply for the CBRS/CoS even if the law passed after your baby passed away.  You can contact your state’s office of vital records if you are uncertain or if you have any other questions.
  • Some states also have tax credit/tax deductions which are denoted on the applicable states in our resource guide.  If this is not listed below your state, please consider joining our advocacy team to advocate for change.
  • We are very grateful to those of you who have shared pictures of your certificates with us to share with families.  If you have a picture of a certificate that is not currently in our resource guide, please send your image to [email protected].  Please note that all personal information will be removed.

All of the information in the Certificate of Stillbirth Resource Guide was updated 1/2024.  Please email us with any discrepancies and/or additions.

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