A GRIEVING mother has raised fears on social media about what happens to miscarried babies at Darlington Memorial Hospital.

But the hospital last night moved quickly to counter any fears of parents who have faced early infant loss, saying all babies are respectfully cremated, with ashes scattered at a children's garden of remembrance, unless the parents choose to take the remains for a private burial or cremation.

The babies lost in early stages of pregnancy are cremated together once a month with a chaplain present to give a service. Their ashes are then scattered at the children's garden in West Cemetery, Darlington.

In later stages of pregnancy the hospital arranges individual cremations unless the parents choose to arrange burial or cremation themselves.

Maryjane Gibb miscarried her baby boy, Jordan, last November and asked to take his remains with her for a private burial.

She said: "The staff were so good and I got to hold him and say goodbye. I got a memorial certificate.

"Then the shift changed and I said I wanted a private cremation or burial but I was told it was not their policy to let the babies out before 16 weeks as they were classed as medical waste, not a baby."

She said she was told there was a memorial garden for the babies' ashes. But she said when she called back this week to go there so she could mark Jordan's first birthday, she said she was told there was no memorial garden and that parents were just told that to help their grief. Ms Gibb posted about her experience on Facebook on Tuesday.

Jo Crawford, head of midwifery, said every baby, at any stage of gestation, was cremated respectfully unless their parents wanted to take them for a private ceremony.

She also refuted that any of the nurses would have used the term 'medical waste' to describe a baby.

"We are very sorry for any poor experience that anyone has had because we know it is a difficult enough experience to go through," she said. "If we haven't got it right we need to make it right.

"But I would like to reassure people that every baby is treated with the utmost respect."

She urged anyone with any questions or issues to contact 0800-783-5774.