We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is a Baby Hatch?

Jessica Ellis
Updated May 16, 2024
Our promise to you
MyLawQuestions is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At MyLawQuestions, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A baby hatch is a place where an infant may be left if the mother is unwilling or unable to care for it. An old societal concept, baby hatches are traditionally meant as an alternative to practices such as abortion, abandonment, or infanticide. Baby hatch facilities are not legal in all countries, especially in those where the abandonment of infants is considered a prosecutable crime.

The location of a baby hatch may be dependent on the region. In parts of Europe, baby hatches are typically connected to clinics, hospitals, churches, or social service centers. In the United States, where the abandonment of infants is protected in most regions under “safe haven” laws, babies may be taken to fire or police facilities as well as hospitals.

The design of a baby hatch usually puts a priority on the anonymity of the mother. In many cases, the hatch consists of a small door that opens into a cradle or infant-sized bed. Once the baby is placed in the bed, a motion-sensor alarm deploys, triggering caretakers to come for the infant. The alarm may be briefly delayed, to allow the mother to depart the scene. In other systems, a bell or buzzer device may be pressed after the baby is deposited, in order to summon caretakers.

Baby hatches have long been seen as a preventative measure against infanticide or abortions. Since many regions require women to register when entering to give birth or have an abortion, women desirous of anonymity may be driven to seek out illegal abortion services or have the baby at home, then kill it or discard it. Women fearing deportation, criminal prosecution, or other retaliatory measures may be able to use a baby hatch rather than opting for tragic alternatives.

Many baby hatches have provisions that allow a mother or guardian to reclaim the child within a certain time period. Some facilities encourage mothers to leave a small keepsake with the baby that can be used for identification, should the mother change her mind. After the time period has lapsed, babies typically are moved from temporary to permanent state custody, and may be given up for adoption.

The use of baby hatches is controversial, even in areas that permit their existence. Critics worry that mothers will be tempted to use the hatch rather than seek alternatives that would allow them to remain in custody of their child. Some fear it provides an easy option to mothers, allowing them to abandon their familial responsibilities with no consequences. Supporters suggest that, while not an ideal solution to the problem of unwanted children, baby hatches at least allow a mother to safely abandon a child without risk to the infant's health. Though many suggest it would be preferable to create a society in which hatches are unnecessary, they are often touted as a useful interim measure.

MyLawQuestions is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Jessica Ellis
By Jessica Ellis
With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica Ellis brings a unique perspective to her work as a writer for MyLawQuestions. While passionate about drama and film, Jessica enjoys learning and writing about a wide range of topics, creating content that is both informative and engaging for readers.

Discussion Comments

Jessica Ellis

Jessica Ellis

With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica Ellis...
Learn more
MyLawQuestions, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

MyLawQuestions, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.