Fetal Death and Still Birth

For information about fetal deaths and stillbirths that occurred in New York City

The New York State Department of Health does not file and cannot issue copies for these events if they occurred within the five boroughs of New York City. For fetal deaths and still births that occurred in one of the five (5) boroughs of New York City (Manhattan, Brooklyn [Kings County], Queens, Bronx, and Staten Island [Richmond County]), please visit the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene web site.

Fetal death is defined in New York State Public Health Law §4160:

Fetal death is defined as death prior to the complete expulsion or extraction from its mother of a product of conception; the death is indicated by the fact that after such separation, the fetus does not breathe or show any other evidence of life such as beating of the heart, pulsation of the umbilical cord, or definite movement of voluntary muscles.

In every case of a fetal death in New York State the death must be reported. If the death occurred in New York State outside of the five boroughs of New York City it is reported to the New York State Department of Health. This is done by authorized medical personnel or, in the case of a fetal death without medical attendance, by the coroner, medical examiner or medical director (in the case of Erie county). The fetal death must be reported regardless of the estimated gestational age of the fetus.

Who is eligible to obtain a copy of a fetal death certificate?

A copy of the Fetal Death Certificate may be issued to the mother (patient) on the fetal death certificate.

What is the fee for a Fetal Death Certificate copy?

There is no charge for the initial copy. Additional copies are $30.00 each.

How do I order a copy?

If you are the mother on the record, you can use the Application for a Copy of a Fetal Death Certificate (DOH-3667) available as a PDF for download or by mail. The mother's signature on the application must be notarized.

Application Forms by Mail

If you would prefer, we can mail a hardcopy of the form to you. Send a note with the name of the form you are requesting (i.e., "Fetal Death Certificate Application"), your name and your mailing address to:

New York State Department of Health
Vital Records Still Birth Unit
P.O. Box 2602
Albany, NY 12220-2602

What about a birth certificate?

Because the fetal death certificate serves as the official record of the birth and death, a separate birth certificate is not issued in the case of a fetal death.

What about the Certificate of Still Birth?

As of March 21, 2012, the law allows the issuance of a Certificate of Still Birth for fetal deaths that meet the definition of a "stillbirth." The law defines a "stillbirth" as the unintended intrauterine death of a fetus that occurs after the clinical estimate of the twentieth week of gestation.

The law allows the Certificate of Still Birth to be issued even if the fetal death occurred before the law went into effect.

Who is eligible to obtain a copy of a Certificate of Still Birth?

  • The parents listed on the Fetal Death certificate.
  • If both parents are deceased at the time of the stillbirth:
    • A sibling of a parent listed on the fetal death certificate may obtain a copy of the Certificate of Still Birth.
    • A parent of a parent listed on the fetal death certificate may obtain a copy of the Certificate of Still Birth.

Where do I obtain a Certificate of Still Birth if the stillbirth occurred in New York City?

The New York State Department of Health does not file and cannot issue copies of New York City fetal death or still birth certificates. For events that occurred in one of the five (5) boroughs of New York City (Manhattan, Brooklyn [Kings County], Queens, Bronx, and Staten Island [Richmond County]), please visit the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene web site.

What is the fee for a Still Birth Certificate copy?

There is a charge of $30.00 for each copy or Notification of No Record Available.

How do I order a copy?

You can use the Application for a Copy of a Certificate of Still Birth (DOH-5056) available as a PDF for download or by mail. The applicant must sign before a Notary Public.

If you are a sibling or a parent of a parent listed on the fetal death certificate, you must also provide documentation of the deaths of the parents listed on the fetal death certificate and documentation of your relationship.

  • Documentation of the deaths of the parents listed on the fetal death certificate can be photocopies of death certificates.
  • Documentation that you are a parent of the parent listed on the fetal death certificate can be a photocopy of the birth certificate showing you as the parent.
  • Documentation of a sibling relationship can be photocopies of birth certificates showing that you have the same parents.

Application Forms by Mail

If you would prefer, we can mail a hardcopy of the form to you. Send a note with the name of the form you are requesting (i.e., "Certificate of Still Birth Application"), your name and your mailing address to:

New York State Department of Health
Vital Records Still Birth Unit
P.O. Box 2602
Albany, NY 12220-2602

What is a Notification of No Record Available and why might I get one?

A Notification of No Record Available is a letter stating that we are unable to issue a Certificate of Still Birth based on your application.

This may occur for several reasons:

  • A Certificate of Still Birth cannot be issued if the pregnancy outcome is not a "stillbirth" as defined in Public Health Law § 4160-a(2).
  • The fetal death certificate may not contain sufficient information to match it to your request. This is possible since some of the information on the fetal death certificate is optional but may be necessary to identify the record. To ensure that you can obtain a copy of the Fetal Death Certificate or the Certificate of Still Birth, it is best to have the person preparing the fetal death certificate complete the optional parts of the certificate with your information.
  • The information provided did not match any fetal death record on file with the department.
  • The parents on the fetal death record may request that the Certificate of Still Birth not be issued.

Will the Certificate of Still Birth be certified?

No, the law does not provide for the department to certify the Certificate of Still Birth.

Can I use the Certificate of Still Birth in place of a Fetal Death Certificate for official purposes?

The New York State Department of Health does not have the authority to determine for other agencies which types of documents they will or will not accept. However, the law does not provide for the department to certify the Certificate of Still Birth. If another agency or party requires a certified document, the Certificate of Still Birth will probably not be accepted.