This page is intended to provide information and support following a pregnancy loss. For information about the death of an adult visit Grief Support Following the Death of a Loved One on UofMHealth.org. For information about the death of a child, visit Grief Support Upon the Death of a Child on MottChildren.org.
Paying for Final Arrangements
Families vary widely in how they experience pregnancy loss and choose final arrangements following the loss of a pregnancy in many different ways. For some it is the death of a son or daughter and the loss of a future. For others, it may solely be the loss of a pregnancy. There is no single path for families to follow and we want to support your family’s preferences as we are able. While we need to follow legal and hospital procedures, our goal is to be as supportive as possible with the choices you feel are most right for you.
The following are options to help you pay for final arrangements following a pregnancy loss. Please know that at times there are limitations to what options are available given the gestational age of the pregnancy and how the loss occurred. We understand that it may be difficult to make these decisions. Our medical and social work staff and our Women’s and Children’s Bereavement Program are available to help answer any questions you may have.
No-Cost Options for Burial and Cremation
Michigan Medicine Assisted Options: Michigan Medicine may help facilitate free options for burial, cremation, and pathology arrangements through partnerships with local funeral homes and cemetery.
Some families who chose to be present may recite a poem, read a spiritual piece or say some loving words. Some families also chose to leave mementos at the burial site. Families are not able to select the location as burial plots are pre-arranged. Burials can occur with or without family present and a temporary marker is placed at the burial site. While there is no charge for the burial, some families choose to have a permanent marker which is a cost to the family arranged directly with the cemetery.
If a baby was non-live born, arrangements can be made for a direct burial from the hospital without having to work through a funeral home. If a baby was live born, a funeral home must be involved..
Variable Cost Options
Funeral Home of Your Choice: You may decide to use a funeral home you’ve worked with before or one that is closer to your home. You can call any funeral home of your choosing and ask to speak to a funeral director. Funeral directors also often know about local resources and may be able to provide direction on seeking this financial support. It is not unloving to ask if they have free and reduced rates available for you. Many funeral homes provide discounted services to families when making arrangements for an early loss.
If a baby was non-live born, arrangements can be made for a direct burial from the hospital without having to work through a funeral home. If a baby was live born, a funeral home must be involved.
For additional information on things to think about in deciding on arrangements, visit our Remembering Your Pregnancy page.
Financial Resources to Consider
Documents and Taxes
Babies who were stillborn do not receive a birth certificate, but can receive a Certificate of Remembrance from Von Voigtlander Hospital. Contact the Children’s and Women’s Bereavement Program if you would like to request a Certificate 734-615-3122
If you need additional certified copies, you can obtain them from the County Clerk’s Office in the county in which the baby died. Michigan Medicine is located in Washtenaw County. The Washtenaw County Clerk/ Register of Deeds Office can be contacted at 734-222-6720 or https://www.washtenaw.org/283/Death-Certificates. There is a cost for each certificate.
If your baby was live born, you can choose to apply for a social security number for the baby. Some families choose to obtain a social security number for their baby as another way to validate the life of their baby. Some families choose to obtain a social security number for their baby as they are able to claim their baby as a dependent when taxes are filed the year the baby was born and died.
Please be aware that as you access information about obtaining a social security number, the information available is written from the standpoint of a living baby. The information provided can be difficult for bereaved families to read as it does not account for families who have had a baby die.
If you have specific questions, Contact Social Security Administration Customer Service 800-772-1213 or you may find the link to their website here.
If your baby was live born and is a “qualifying child” during the year, claiming the baby on your tax return is generally allowed. Please seek the advice of a professional tax preparer to understand your family’s eligibility.
The Office of Decedent Affairs (ODA) is part of the Michigan Medicine Department of Social Work. The ODA is the centralized point of contact at Michigan Medicine for ongoing questions and concerns before, during, and after the death of a loved one. The Children’s and Women’s Bereavement Program is part of ODA.