Information for Healthcare Providers: Answering Questions about Funeral or Other Arrangements After a Fetal or Neonatal Death

at The Johns Hopkins Hospital

What are the choices?

After the death of a fetus (over 20 weeks gestation) or a baby less than one month old, the parents, guardians, or other next-of-kin must decide what will happen to its body.  There are two possibilities:

  1.  Naming a funeral home;
  2. Having the Maryland State Anatomy Board perform the final disposition and cremation.

The same two choices are available for younger fetuses if a fetal death certificate has been issued.

Naming a private funeral home

Some families may want to arrange for burial or cremation by a private funeral home or funeral service, just as they would for an adult.  If this is the family’s wish, they should check the “funeral arrangements” option on the Disposition Consent Form.  They must then notify the hospital of the name of the funeral home or service.  The body must be picked up within 72 hours of death.

Using the Maryland State Anatomy Board

Some families may choose to have the Maryland State Anatomy Board perform the final disposition.  There is no charge for this service.  If the family checks the “Maryland State Anatomy Board” option on the Disposition Consent Form, the State of Maryland will cremate their child’s body.  His or her ashes will be buried with those of other infants and fetuses in a dedicated gravesite on the grounds of Springfield State Hospital in Sykesville, Maryland.  The family may visit this cemetery if they wish.  Memorial services are held annually for families and friends.