In a narrow definition a ‘replacement child’ is a child conceived and born to replace a child who died. Over the past 30 years, the concept has been broadened, to include the role attributed to a person, or the role a person self-identifies with.

A person can be a replacement child if:

  • Conceived or born to replace a child or other member of the family who has died;
  • Born shortly after a death, stillbirth, miscarriage or abortion: a so-called subsequent child;
  • Born as a surviving twin or multiple;
  • Replacing a sibling or another member of the family later on, due to death or disability;
  • In the context of the adoption of a child, replacing or being replaced by a conceived child; or
  • Being assigned the role to replace a missing person or self-identifying with such a role.
  • Important Note: Children born or adopted after a death or loss are not automatically replacement children.
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