Dear Chief Executive Officer Letter: NYS Still Birth Certificate Law to Take Effect March 21, 2012

March 20, 2012

Dear Hospital Chief Executive Officer:

On March 21, 2012 the New York State Still Birth Certificate Law goes into effect. The Department sent an e-mail to hospitals on March 9, 2012 that contained information on the Law, a draft application for requesting the certificate, information on completing the fetal death certificate and a copy of the Law. The Application to the Department of Health for a Certificate of Still Birth (DOH form 5056) is attached and can be distributed to the parent(s) along with any other notice that the hospital chooses to develop to inform eligible parent(s) of the availability of the Certificate of Still Birth. The Law requires the hospital to inform the parent(s) in writing of the availability of the Certificate of Still Birth.

As a reminder, important provisions of the Law are:

  1. Only the birth parents named on the fetal death certificate may request a Certificate of Still Birth from NYSDOH by completing an Application to Department of Health for Certificate of Still Birth. If both parents are deceased at the time of the stillbirth, then a sibling of the birth parents or parents of the birth parents may apply for a Certificate of Still Birth. A certificate may be issued regardless of when the stillbirth event took place. Please refer all requests for a Certificate of Still Birth to the Department Still Birth Unit at 518-474-8187.
  2. 2. The new law defines Still Birth as the unintended intrauterine death of a fetus that occurs after the clinical estimate of the 20th week of gestation. Therefore, it is mandatory that the clinical age of gestation (item 30) be completed on the Certificate of Fetal Death.

The application form is in an adobe reader form which can be completed and printed on a computer. The application cannot be submitted electronically, it must be notarized and mailed to the Department. In the very near future, the Department's vital records website will post Certificate of Still Birth information and the application. The vital records website page is: There will be a link on this page to the Fetal Death and Still Birth information page.

Thank you in advance for your cooperation in this matter. If you should have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Department at 518-474-8187.

Guy Warner
Vital Records