Almost 10,000 births of lifeless children have been registered since a new law came into effect this year, including one aborted child and one lost more than 50 years ago.
The home affairs ministry has released figures for the four months since this registration became possible in February, in a written answer to parliamentary questions.
A total of 9,329 these births were recorded, including a case of one family from Eindhoven who registered a child born without signs of life in 1958, reports the Volkskrant.
Raymond Knops, junior home affairs minister, wrote that parents can also register the existence of a foetus if they have had an abortion. ‘The parents’ wishes determine whether the details of a child born without life are recorded under this act,’ he wrote. ‘This is personal, and every parent deals with this event differently. This is why in drawing up the act we decided to draw up no conditions about the moment or conditions of the birth.’
He added that his impression was that civil servants took a ‘broad’ view when registering a child as ‘born (lifeless)’
Miriam van Kreij, of the miscarriage support group Miskraambegeleiding Nederland, told the Volkskrant that registering the existence of a miscarried child can help parents deal with their grief. ‘One in four women has at least one miscarriage,’ she reportedly said. ‘Twenty years ago many doctors thought it was better not to get attached to the unborn child. Now we realise it is better to say goodbye, even with shorter pregnancies or where there is no recognisable child.’
Funeral services told the Volkskrant that they were seeing a growth in funerals for stillborn or miscarried babies, who after 24 weeks’ gestation must legally be buried or cremated.
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