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Commemorative Birth Certificates for stillborns offer name inclusion for personal remembrance

Minister for Home Affairs K Shanmugam has affirmed that Commemorative Birth Certificates are issued upon request for stillborns, and ICA collaborates with hospitals to inform affected parents.

This response follows a Parliamentary question filed by Associate Prof Jamus Lim on the necessity for individual applications and parental awareness.



SINGAPORE: Commemorative Birth Certificates (CBCs) are exclusively issued upon request from parents of stillborn children due to the personal and sensitive nature of the matter, said Mr K Shanmugam, the Minister for Home Affairs.

He added that The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) has collaborated with hospitals to ensure that affected parents are informed about the option to obtain CBCs.

Mr Shanmugam was responding to Parliamentary Question filed by Workers’ Party MP Associate Professor Jamus Lim on Monday (6 Nov).

Assoc Prof Lim sought clarification on why parents of stillborn babies are required to apply for Commemorative Birth Certificates (CBCs) on a case-by-case basis rather than having them automatically issued. He also inquired whether parents are made aware of this option in the unfortunate event of having a stillborn child.

Responding to these queries, Mr Shanmugam explained that a CBC includes the name of the stillborn child for remembrance purposes. Due to the deeply personal and sensitive nature of deciding whether to name a stillborn child, CBCs are issued exclusively upon parental request.

Mr. Shanmugam also clarified that maternity hospitals, as the primary points of contact for parents, have been working in coordination with the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) to inform affected parents about the possibility of obtaining a CBC. This information has also been made available on the ICA’s website.

Parents’ advocacy leads to inclusion of stillborn children’s names on Commemoratives Birth Certificates in Singapore

In April of this year, A husband and wife, Ms Mandy Too and Mr Aidan Hoy, parents of stillborn children initiated an online petition, which garnered over 2,800 signatures, requesting the inclusion of their stillborn children’s names in official documents.

Their motivation was rooted in a deep desire for official recognition of their children.

In early October, ICA communicated to these parents that they could potentially apply for Commemorative Birth Certificates for their children.

Subsequently, they submitted their applications, and earlier this month, received digital copies of their children’s commemorative birth certificates.

These certificates marked a significant milestone, as they represented the first official government documents bearing their children’s names—a poignant and meaningful realization for the parents.

Jamus Lim’s effort in supporting parents’ wishes for stillborn child names

Following the aforementioned positive outcome, Asst Prof Lim shared his thoughts on Facebook on 30 October: “The #workersparty consistently champions causes in Parliament that align with the broader interests of Singaporean society. Occasionally, we also highlight more specific issues that, while less widespread, are just as crucial because they reflect our core values and our commitment to doing what’s right.”

He continued, “This is why I was eager to support Mandy’s initiative for the issuance of birth certificates for stillborn infants. After she presented a strong case, I submitted several Parliamentary Questions to spotlight the matter. The Ministry’s response was positive, indicating a path forward contingent upon evident public support. Mandy’s subsequent campaign gathered thousands of signatures, confirming a genuine demand among bereaved parents.”

Asst Prof Lim concluded, “I was greatly encouraged by the recent decision of the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority to begin issuing commemorative birth certificates for stillborn children. They’ve also taken the essential step of notifying bereaved parents about this option—an important consideration during a time of loss. Although it’s a modest change in procedure, it carries immense significance for those who are mourning.”

This is not the first time Assoc Prof Lim has raised this issue.

He had earlier shared his personal connection to the issue, having experienced a stillborn brother, during a 2021 parliamentary debate.

When Ms Too reached out to advocate for birth certificates for stillborn babies, Mr Lim readily supported her cause, filing parliamentary questions to highlight the matter.

In one response, Minister for Law and Home Affairs, K Shanmugam noted, “The intent of a birth certificate is to serve as a certification of the registration of a live birth and as an identity document for the child, which can then be used for administrative purposes, such as the provision of Government services. Hence, birth certificates are not issued to stillbirths.”

In September 2022, Asst Prof Lim filed a parliamentary question specifically addressing whether the new digital birth certificates would make provisions for stillborn children’s names.

Mr Shanmugam responded with the rationale behind the existing registration process, noting that the design aimed to streamline administrative procedures, as names of stillborn children were not deemed essential for the government to administer public policies and programs, while also sparing grieving parents from additional administrative burdens.

Despite this explanation, Mr Shanmugam acknowledged the desire of parents to include their stillborn children’s names and committed to reviewing the feasibility of allowing this practice.

Additionally, alternative options like a commemorative birth certificate were considered as part of the ongoing assessment.

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