The Human Tissue Authority’s new guidance on the disposal of pregnancy remains

The Human Tissue Authority has recently issued its new guidance on the disposal of pregnancy remains.

The guidance aims to steer professionals who work with women who have experienced a pregnancy loss or termination and sets out what is expected and how women should be involved in decision making about the sensitive handling of pregnancy remains.

As a patient focused group, we welcome initiatives and improvements to provide women with treatment choices especially at such a sensitive time. However, we also recognise that additional work is still needed to ensure women’s needs are fully met. For example, if women do not express a preference, hospitals may dispose of remains with clinical waste. In addition, the guidance refers to “sensitive incineration” and we query what this means in practise and how this can be ensured as almost all incineration is undertaken off-site away from the hospital. We recognise that the guidance requires further attention to fill these areas and makes important steps in the right direction for dealing with such sensitive topics.