Supporting autopsy research

Your support is helping find the reasons why babies die - so that one day we can prevent it.

By Michelle Birch, Autopsy Project Lead


In Australia over 3,000 babies and young children die suddenly and unexpectedly every year, and the reasons behind these deaths remains largely unknown.

In order to reduce these deaths, we need to better understand more about why they happened – and to do that we need to increase autopsy and investigation rates.

Last year, your support helped fund a vital survey helping us understand why bereaved parents did or didn’t grant permission to autopsy their precious baby.

The decision to autopsy can be incredibly emotional and difficult for any parent, and often requires more than a single conversation.

“I couldn’t imagine her being mishandled. I wanted her carried and treated like she was a living girl.”

In Australia today, less than half of all perinatal deaths are autopsied.

This research also showed how important the role of health care workers is in supporting parents to choose to autopsy.

“They came down from the morgue and they talked us through the whole process. He picked up our baby and carried her with such care that we knew it would be ok.”

Using the vital insights you helped uncover, we are now working on several Government funded projects to increase autopsy rates across the country.

Working with bereaved parents we are developing new resources to help explain and encourage autopsy.

And with the input of health professionals we will create specialised training to help them better support parents deciding whether to autopsy.

Thank you for helping support parents through their heartbreak and for helping increase autopsy rates to uncover the reasons why babies die – so that one day we can prevent it.

Help fund vital research and family support by donating here.