Victorian Perinatal Autopsy Service
The Victorian Perinatal Autopsy Service (VPAS) provides a co-ordinated state-wide service ensuring consistent standards of practice and expertise for the clinical investigation of perinatal deaths across Victoria.
The three Victorian tertiary maternity hospitals providing these services are the Royal Women’s Hospital (the Women’s), Monash Health and Mercy Hospital for Women, and their associated pathology departments, The Royal Children’s Hospital Pathology, Monash Pathology and Austin Pathology.
The service is available to public as well as private patients and there is no charge for autopsies on deceased infants where there is a registered perinatal death. A registered perinatal death is the stillbirth of a baby over 20 weeks gestation; or if the gestation is unknown, weighs 400g or more; and the neonatal death of an infant who shows signs of life at birth regardless of gestation. All registered perinatal deaths require a Medical Certificate of Cause of Perinatal Death to be completed.
VPAS autopsies are performed by perinatal pathologists who are doctors trained specifically in perinatal autopsy. They follow post-mortem examination processes and procedures as outlined in the VPAS guidelines, based on the 2018 Clinical Practice Guidelines for Perinatal Mortality by the Perinatal Society of Australia and New Zealand.
VPAS requires specific forms to be completed before a post-mortem can commence. Download the forms from this page.Learn more
Referrals to VPAS
Your health service will have an allocated VPAS provider. Please refer to this page to find out which VPAS you should contact to refer a baby for autopsy.Learn more
Obtaining informed consent
Approaching the topic of post-mortem examination with bereaved parents can be challenging.Learn more
Receiving autopsy reports
A preliminary autopsy report will be issued by VPAS within two days of an autopsy being performed. A final report will usually be available 8-10 weeks from the date on which the autopsy was performed.Learn more
Information for funeral providers
Transportation of a baby to a VPAS provider can be performed by a funeral director of the parent’s choosing. A number of important procedures must be followed.Learn more
VPAS recommended resources
Download useful resources.Learn more
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