Histopathology Services

The examination of miscarried tissue and fetal remains is routinely offered to all women who experience an early pregnancy loss, and is carried out by histopathology services

Care provided after death:

  • Sensitively deal with specimens relating to pregnancy loss
  • Confirm the presence of pregnancy via examination
  • Identify fetal abnormality if present
  • Identify any diagnostic issues which may impact on patient care, eg molar pregnancy.
  • Communicate the findings to the relevant obstetrician or gynaecologist.
  • Responsible for the safekeeping, handling and storage of remains until onward transfer for burial/ cremation
  • Ensuring accurate identification of remains throughout the process and completion of appropriate documentation.

Works alongside:

  • Midwives
  • Nurses
  • Obstetricians and gynaecologists
  • Mortuary services.

The Standard of Bereavement Care is enhanced when:

  • Healthcare staff use the proper procedures in relation to both handling and transportation of miscarried tissue and fetal remains
  • Consent for histopathological examination has been obtained correctly and that consent decisions are accurately recorded

Standards and Guidelines

  • HSC Trust/Employers policies and procedures in relation to pregnancy loss, death and bereavement care.
  • ‘Code of practice 5, Disposal Following Pregnancy Loss’, September 2009,  Human Tissue Authority.
  • DHSSPSNI ‘Consent for Histopathological Examination and Disposal of Early Miscarriages’.
  • DHSSPSNI ‘Consent for Hospital Post-Mortem Examination of a Baby’.
  • ‘The Retention and Storage of pathological records and archives (4th edition 2009), Royal College of Pathologists/IBMS Guidelines.