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Rechtliche Grundlagen

Useful Information

Legal Basics



Unfortunately, the deterrent terms such as stillbirth and miscarriage are used in the law.

A stillborn child over 500g gets a birth certificate (and a death certificate) and has been recognized as a 'person'. Since 2013, parents have also been able to enter stillborn children under 500g in the register if they wish, and the parents will receive a name certificate from the registry office. 

The registry office in whose area of responsibility the miscarriage took place must be visited.

The registry office issues a certificate to the parents in which the misborn child/children are recorded with the intended first and last name, sex, date of birth and place of birth. The certificate issued by the registry office thus includes the essential data that the birth certificate would have contained. This certificate can also be issued retrospectively, even if the loss was years ago. A certificate from the doctor or midwife about a miscarriage or the maternity pass must be presented at the registry office. (Source: from October 21, 2019)

Since the change in the law in 2018, not only the 500g limit applies, but also the achievement of the 24th week of pregnancy as a delimitation. Children who weigh less than 500 g but are still born in the 24th week of pregnancy are also recognized as individuals. It is therefore a stillbirth when the child has reached the end of the 24th week of pregnancy. 

Children who are part of a multiple birth (e.g. twins) and died with at least one child alive are to be certified in the same way as the living children. The parents of these children receive an official birth and death certificate from the registry office for the family book.


Burial law is the responsibility of the individual federal states.

There is no burial obligation for miscarriages in North Rhine-Westphalia. There is a burial obligation for stillbirths as well as children born alive from 500g. At the request of the parents, their own children from a miscarriage or stillbirth can be buried regardless of their weight (burial rights). This also applies to abortions. Furthermore, there is a legal obligation (e.g. by hospitals) to inform parents about their right to a burial. If the parents do not exercise their right to burial, stillbirths and miscarriages are to be collected and buried under dignified conditions. The institution bears the costs.

Once or twice a year, many hospitals offer the joint burial of miscarriages in a star child burial site, to which the parents and their relatives are also invited.


The deterrent terms such as stillbirth and miscarriage are also used as a distinction in maternity leave.

Mothers who had a stillbirth (the child weighed more than 500 g or completed the 24th week of pregnancy) or whose child died immediately after birth are entitled to maternity leave. 

A miscarriage is not considered a birth in the legal sense, so there is no maternity protection for women whose child died before the 24th week of pregnancy or whose child weighed less than 500g. There are therefore no protection periods for mothers who have a miscarriage or an abortion. 

Since 2018 there has been a statutory protection against dismissal of 4 months for mothers whose miscarriage occurred after the 12th week of pregnancy. The law wants to take into account the situation and grief of the mothers.

If a miscarriage or an abortion is associated with mental and physical stress that results in an inability to work, this must be certified by a doctor. Instead of the regulations on continued payment of wages under maternity leave, the regulations on continued payment of wages in the event of illness or sick pay from statutory health insurance apply.


Many pregnant women are often unaware that they are entitled to a midwife if they know about the pregnancy. Mothers with statutory health insurance who have had a miscarriage or a stillbirth also have the right to follow-up care by a midwife. Unfortunately, this right is hardly mentioned.



Fezer-Schadt, Kathrin and Erhardt-Seidel, Carolin: carry on.

Pathways to prenatal diagnosis 


Salzburg 2018

Frömel-Scheumann, Miriam: 

Shine bright - Little Star. The Star Child Memory Book 


Butzbach 2017

Heine, Hannah

Marie and Vöhringer, Katharina: 

leni and the mourning puddles 


Cologne 2017

Hillebrand, Petra: 

Fly, smaller 



Innsbruck 2019

Lothrop, Hannah: 

Good Hope -

abrupt end

Munich 2016

shoveler, Nicole: 

I was pregnant yesterday


Salzburg 2014

Wolter, Heike: 

Mein  Sternenkind


Salzburg 2012

Wolter, Heike: 

My subsequent pregnancy 


Salzburg 2010

A very extensive media list sorted by

Initiative REGENBOGEN 




For parents who want their child before, while or shortly after

lost at birth



Federal association of orphaned parents and grieving siblings in Germany



Umbrella organization for bereavement support in Germany

Representation of interests and mouthpiece for mourners and those accompanying bereavement

and people in teaching and research on grief



Self-help group for Wesel and the surrounding area



Help and support for families and professionals

in case of miscarriage birth, termination of pregnancy

and neonatal death



Photographer Kai Gebel | The first and the last picture


grief counselor


The bereavement companion is free of charge for the participants of the "Star Children Duisburg" self-help group and can be sent by post during the Corona crisis, stating the address.

© Nicole Baden

International Days of Remembrance





 Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day 

October 15 is an international day of remembrance for children who died during pregnancy, childbirth or shortly after childbirth. 





Worldwide Candle Lighting 

On the 2nd Sunday of Advent, parents around the world who have lost a child place a lit candle in their window at 7 p.m.As the candles are extinguished in one time zone, they are lit in the next, so that a wave of light surrounds the entire world for 24 hours.

Every light in the window represents the knowledge that these children brightened life and that they will never be forgotten. The light also stands for the hope that the grief will not let the lives of the relatives remain dark forever. The light builds bridges from one affected person to another, from one family to another, from one house to another, from one city to another, from one country to another. It assures those affected of solidarity among themselves. It warms the cold life a little and will spread like the first ray of sunshine in the morning.

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