A hospital in Cambridge has been filming couples as they learned that their unborn babies had died, according to BBC Cambridgeshire.

TV cameras had been installed at the Rosie Hospital, Cambridge for a documentary on stillbirth produced by Channel 4. They filmed 24 hours a day.

The cameras were placed in a section of the maternity unit where couples would be taken and given bad news.

Although signs could be seen in some corridors of the hospital, the families argue that they were not informed that filming was taking place. Channel 4 recorded their reactions as they heard the distressing news about their unborn children.

The hospital defended itself, arguing that the A4 pages on walls were enough warning to the families. They read: "No mums or visitors will be filmed without permission. If you are inadvertently caught on camera but have not been approached for permission, the footage will be edited or blurred in post-production."

"I think there's adequate notice. It's flagged up – there are notices to suggest filming is taking place," clinical lead of women's services Dr Jeremy Brocklesby said.

Brocklesby thinks the documentary was necessary. "Unless we get this out to the public conversation it will go no further, it will remain taboo," he added.

However, many parents-to-be were more sceptical.

The project needs to be shut because it's morally repugnant," said mother-to-be Tara Bungard. "I cannot imagine in anyway how it ethically allowed to have those moments filmed and kept."

Midwives, doulas – who act as moral support for expecting mothers– and charity chiefs have raised moral and legal concerns over the cameras. Parents want the hospital to apologise.

An unnamed doula said she had contacted the maternity ward after hearing complaints from one of the mothers she was following. She got no answer.

Chief executive of the Birthrights charity Rebecca Schiller wrote a letter to the Rosie Hospital.

She writes that there are "moral and legal questions to be asked" of the hospital, and added the charity would be investigating

A spokesperson for the hospital said: "We took the decision to participate in the documentary as a direct result of feedback from women who had been through stillbirth and said there was not enough information on this difficult but important issue."

The hospital added: "No footage taken by the cameras is ever viewed by anyone without express consent of the patient." The footage was automatically deleted after a few days.

A spokesperson for Channel 4 told the Mirror that any Rosie hospital patients will be able to "withdraw their consent at any time."

He said the documentary would be "sensitively-made," and "observational", and added the aim was to "demystify stillbirth and remove the taboo surrounding the difficult subject matter".