TDL Policy for Sensitive Disposal of Pre-24 Week Pregnancy Remains

The TDL Policy for the disposal of pre-24 week pregnancy remains resulting from pregnancy loss or termination of pregnancy in a clinical setting is informed by Human Tissue Authority guidance (https://www.hta.gov.uk/guidance-professionals/regulated-sectors/post-mortem/guidance-sensitive-handling-pregnancy-0)

To support clients when giving clear information to an individual regarding options for disposal of pregnancy remains, we would like to  draw your attention to the following.

A disposal consent form is available for the patient to complete providing consent for the laboratory to follow standard protocol for disposal of pregnancy remains or details for if they wish to take an alternative course of action, this includes the opportunity for them to collect remains and make private arrangements.

Click here to download the disposal consent form


TDL Histology standard disposal protocol for pregnancy remains

  • Pregnancy remains, not fully embedded into a block, will be disposed of by sensitive incineration, unless there is discernable fetal tissue (see below), please note that ashes will not be recoverable. 
  • Where discernable fetal tissue is present, the pregnancy remains are disposed of by group cremation through a funeral service provider:
    • Group cremation refers to a number of individually labelled and boxed pregnancy remains being cremated together within a larger box
    • Group cremation is conducted on a monthly basis, please note it is not possible to provide advance notice of a specific date of cremation
    • Individual ashes will not be recoverable but the funeral service provider scatters the ashes from group cremation in a dedicated area of their grounds
  • Pregnancy remains included in histology blocks and slides will be kept under laboratory clinical archive protocols, in line with Royal College of Pathologists guidelines.

If a disposal consent form is not received with the request form at time of pregnancy remains receipt in the laboratory, TDL Histology will dispose of the pregnancy remains according to the standard protocol above. Disposal will be performed 5 weeks after receipt of sample in the laboratory.

Where discernable fetal tissue has been detected in the laboratory, but a disposal consent form not received, the pregnancy remains will be held for 5 weeks. During this timeframe we will contact you to check whether the individual would like to confirm their wishes by submission of a form. If a disposal consent form is not received within this timeframe, standard disposal protocol will be followed.

Collection of pregnancy remains

We understand that an individual may wish to collect pregnancy remains and make their own arrangements for disposal. This can be accommodated but instruction to us must be received on the disposal consent form. We will contact you to advise on how your patient, or their representative, can collect the pregnancy remains from our London laboratory. Where an individual has opted to collect their pregnancy remains, the client must ensure that the individual is aware of health and safety considerations. We will include a leaflet that provides guidance to the individual for disposal.

Click here to view the guidance for disposal leaflet

Please note that the HTA guidance for the clinician to record in the clinical notes that the individual has been made aware of the disposal options. TDL Histology will maintain a record of the method of disposal according to our disposal of sensitive remains policy.