Code of the District of Columbia

§ 7–231.15a. Certificate of stillbirth.

(a)(1) Within 180 days of March 16, 2021, the Department shall establish a certificate of stillbirth.

(2) The certificate shall include such appropriate information as determined by the Department and be on a form established by the Department that is similar, as applicable, to a certificate issued for a record of live birth pursuant to § 7-231.08; provided, that the inclusion of a name given to a stillborn fetus by a parent shall be included only at the election of the parent.

(b)(1) A parent named on a fetal death report registered with the Department pursuant to § 7-231.14 may request a certificate of stillbirth for the fetus that is the subject of the report. A certificate of stillbirth may be requested and issued regardless of the date on which the fetal death was reported or registered. Commemorative stillbirth certificates will not be available for events that do not meet the statutory definition for fetal death.

(2) Following the receipt of the report and registration as a fetal death, and upon the request of a parent named on the report, the Registrar shall issue a certificate of stillbirth within 30 days.

(3) A person required to report a fetal death pursuant to § 7-231.14 shall inform the parents in writing of the availability of a certificate of stillbirth.

(c)(1) A certificate of stillbirth issued pursuant to this section shall be a commemorative certificate and in addition to, and not in lieu of, the report or registration of the fetal death required pursuant to § 7-231.14, as the certificate of stillbirth is meant to serve as an heirloom for the family, while a fetal death certificate is required for official business purposes, including, but not limited to, disposition of remains.

(2) A certificate of stillbirth shall not constitute proof of a live birth and shall not be used to calculate live birth statistics.

(d) This section shall not be used to establish, bring, or support a civil cause of action seeking damages against a person or entity for bodily injury, personal injury, or wrongful death for a stillbirth.

(e) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the parents who are issued a certificate of stillbirth may elect to have the disclosure of, and access to, the information included on the certificate of stillbirth limited to themselves, their lawful representatives, authorized personnel of the department, and the Registrar.

(f) For the purpose of this section, the term:

(1) "Fetal death" means when, after the expulsion or extraction, a fetus does not breathe or show any other evidence of life, including beating of the heart, pulsation of the umbilical cord, or definite movement of voluntary muscles. The term "fetal death" does not include an induced termination of pregnancy.

(2) "Stillbirth" means the delivery of a fetus where there was death before the complete expulsion or extraction from its mother of a product of human conception, regardless of the duration of pregnancy.


(Oct. 30, 2018, D.C. Law 22-164, § 115a; as added Mar. 16, 2021, D.C. Law 23-214, § 2(a), 67 DCR 14396.)