A Hong Kong couple, who lost their unborn son in April, can now finally take and bury the foetus of their miscarried baby. The development comes as a relief for the couple as they were told by the hospital that it would dispose of the foetus as "clinical waste".
The foetus – named Wally by the parents – was at a public hospital since April as under Hong Kong law, parents are not allowed to bury deceased foetuses younger than 24 weeks. The mother had miscarried in the 15th week of her pregnancy.
Hong Kong recognises a foetus as a life only at 24 weeks.
According to BBC, Kevin and his wife Angela – who are using pseudonyms to protect their privacy – were granted the permission after the Catholic Diocese stepped into the matter.
The church's application to the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department to help them bury their boy was approved over the weekend, SCMP reported.
"We're really happy and relieved. It's bittersweet, of course, but I'm relieved that we've been able to get closure," Kelvin said.
"I feel very relieved and happy to be able to bury my son with the dignity he deserves."
The church has also made a special space, called as "Angel Garden", in its private cemetery in eastern Hong Kong for foetuses born before 24 weeks of gestation. The facility is only for Roman Catholic families.
According to reports, Angela miscarried at home in April after which she was soon rushed to the Princess Margaret Hospital in Kwai Chung town, where it was confirmed that the child was no more.
Kevin said the nurses at the medical centre were sympathetic and kind towards his family. He added that they even offered to dress the deceased foetus in tiny dolls' clothing. But, the real problem started when the hospital refused to gave the child for burial.
"When the hospital said our son was hospital property, our jaws dropped. If you have a relative die, and the government confiscates the body, it wouldn't make you feel very good unless you have some kind of resolution," Kevin said.
He added that the hospital had earlier agreed to give his son's body but without the official documentation, which is required for a burial.
"I had nowhere to take him. If you take a baby that is considered to be clinical waste, you can't just dispose of it any which way you like," Kevin said.
"I could bury him in my garden, or hold a bonfire at the beach, but it wouldn't be a legal burial. If someone discovers it, they could call the police."
He also said that later in May, the hospital again agreed to release the body but with another connotation – which was not possible to agree on. The authorities suggested they could go to a pet crematorium for the service, which the couple immediately rejected.