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What is the Process for a Stillborn or Baby Cremation?

Daniela Fortino
Daniela Fortino
February 2nd 2023 - 7 minute read
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Learn about baby and stillborn cremation and what to expect when you choose a cremation service provider such as Eirene.


Funerals are an important part of the grieving process for families; however, they can be particularly challenging for parents, guardians, and relatives grieving the loss of a child.

At Eirene, we make the cremation process as straightforward as possible, relieving some of the burdens families face during a difficult time. Learn more about stillborn and baby cremation and the steps involved in cremation arrangements below.

What is a stillborn or baby cremation?

Cremation for a stillborn or baby is an end-of-life arrangement for individuals who have died in the early stages of development or childhood. The cremation process does not differ significantly between a stillborn or baby cremation and an adult cremation, but there are subtle differences depending on the timeframe or circumstances of the death.  

The term “baby” can describe various age ranges but typically relates to anyone under the age of four. This includes newborns, infants and toddlers.

Medical and legal definitions in Canada (excluding Quebec) define stillbirth as the delivery or loss of a fetus after 20 weeks of gestation or if the baby weighs over 500 grams (17.6 oz) when born. The same definition applies in Quebec, except the viability measure is based solely on a birth weight of 500 grams (17.6 oz) or more.

If the fetus takes a breath or shows signs of life after birth, it is considered a live birth. Pregnancy loss occurring before 20 weeks of gestation or weighing under 500 grams (17.6 oz) is a miscarriage.

A miscarriage does not meet the legal requirement for registration with the government or require a cremation or burial arrangement. If a family would like a funeral or service for the little one they need to contact a funeral home. You can also contact a cremation or aquamation service provider (like Eirene) to discuss arrangement options.

How much does a stillborn/baby cremation cost?

A cremation funeral in Canada typically ranges from $1,000 to over $10,000 and varies in cost based on location and included services. Direct cremations typically fall within the $1,000 to $3,000 range. Aquamation, a water-based disposition option also known as “alkaline hydrolysis,” is a common cremation alternative. Aquamation arrangements range in cost from $2000 to $3000.

Stillborn or baby cremations consume fewer resources than adult cremations due to the smaller body mass. As such, the cost tends to be lower than even the lowest-cost adult cremation packages. Some crematoriums may choose not to charge the family for the cremation process, but this varies depending on age, the size, whether it was a stillbirth or live birth, etc. However, this does not exclude fees for other services like documentation, transportation, body preparation, etc. Contact us at support@eirene.ca for further information about cost.

Financial assistance with Eirene

It may be challenging for families to afford cremation arrangements. At Eirene, we believe in providing access to affordable, quality death care to all clients. Our staff will work with families to find a payment plan that works best for their financial situation. We have also partnered with Affirm, which offers installment payment plans for desired services with no hidden fees or late fees.

Learn more about additional funeral financial assistance in the articles below:

Cremation arrangements with Eirene

Outlined below is Eirene's arrangement process for stillborn and baby cremations. The cremation process consists of five main steps:

  • Initial arrangements
  • Transportation
  • Documentation (if applicable)
  • Cremation
  • Return of ashes

Initial arrangements

Arrangements with Eirene can be started using our online platform, over the phone or email. You can also request a meeting via video conferencing, if desired.

We offer cremation and aquamation (depending on provincial legal status). See our service locations here.

Depending on location, in-person meetings at one of Eirene's offices may also be possible. These are available upon request and by appointment only.

We also invite you to check out the end-of-life resources and guidance on the blog and help centre on our website. Visitors can also browse the online urn catalog. There is a designated category for infant urns and child/teen urns, displaying themes and imagery related to children, such as angels, hearts, animals, etc. Keepsake urns and jewelry are also available.

Unlike adult cremations, there is no standard price for stillborn or baby cremations. Fees depend on age, body mass, type of birth, etc. Therefore, it is best for families to call or email for appropriate pricing and information. However, the online arrangement process can be started by clicking on "Start Arranging" in the top right corner of the website.

A licensed funeral director on our team will take client information and walk them through the steps to complete arrangements for their family. Next, our staff will correspond with the closest cremation partner location and transfer service to make the necessary arrangements.

Transportation

Once a family confirms the services requested, a transfer team is dispatched to transfer the baby's remains into our care. Generally, if a family wants to make an identification or witness the cremation, that can also be arranged.

Note: In Ontario, it is legal to transport a deceased person's body in a private vehicle. Contact Eirene's team to discuss these arrangements if desired.

Documentation and logistics

Eirene handles most of the cremation planning and logistics, such as completing and submitting documentation, collecting payments, obtaining death certificates, etc. Documentation varies between provinces. Learn more in these articles:

Once the paperwork is filled out and payment is made, our team will correspond with the crematorium partner to facilitate the cremation process.

Return of ashes

After cremation, our staff will pick up the cremated remains from the crematorium partner and hand deliver the urn back to their loved ones. We make an appointment with families to ensure an in-person delivery. Cremated remains will never be left on someone's doorstep or in a mailbox. This is the standard in all locations.

Essential documents (e.g., death certificates) are provided to families during the in-person delivery or are sent to them via Canada Post's Express Post service. Our staff will also provide a link to create an account with Eirene's partner, Cadence, a company that assists families with after-death matters.

Ask a question

If you have a question, you can email us at support@eirene.ca. To start making arrangements, click here.

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