Choosing a way to say goodbye can be stressful, but it’s important. Many parents find that saying goodbye in a meaningful way helped them to grieve. Take your time and think about what’s best for you and your family. You may want to find a personal way to honour your baby like a ceremony, memorial, burial, or a private moment of remembering.
You can choose to make private arrangements for your baby. Ask your health care provider for information about how you (or your funeral service provider) can pick up the remains. If you’re taking the remains home with you, ask your funeral service provider or your nurse about safe handling.
Generally speaking, you can decide the manner of burial of the remains, so long as it does not cause public offense. Where a fetus completed 20 weeks gestation or weighed 500 grams or more, a burial permit is required. If you are burying the remains on your own, you should seek legal advice to make sure you are not offside any laws even if it is on your own property. (There are things you may not have thought about; for example are you close to a water source?) If you are transporting the remains or are storing or creating a memento with the remains instead of burying them, there are further public health and infection control measures which must be considered.
If you have questions, please contact us and let us know so that we can provide you with further health and safety information.
You don’t need to have a body or remains to have a funeral or service or to attend a hospital service. Many hospitals and programs offer memorial services for pregnancy losses at no cost (e.g., Silent Hopes Memorial Service in Calgary). Some parents choose to have their own private gathering.
“Holding our baby’s memorial was one of the toughest things we have had to do. Now, it’s one of the most special memories we have.”
Talk to your funeral service provider for more information.
Burial can be in the earth (interred), or above-ground (in a columbarium). If you chose to have a private burial in a cemetery, there will be costs because you’ll need to buy a plot of land and pay maintenance costs. If you can’t afford a burial or cremation, talk to your funeral service provider about organizations that may be able to help.
For a listing of Alberta Funeral Service Regulatory Board Listings go to
Current as of: August 18, 2017
Author: Women’s Health, Alberta Health Services
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