A woman who suffered a miscarriage in hospital was accidentally given her dead foetus in a plastic bag.
The infirmary has launched an investigation
A nurse at Manchester Royal Infirmary gave the hospital bag to the father as the family were being transferred to the city's St Mary's Hospital.
The nurse is understood to have thought the bag, which was marked "patient property", contained clothes.
The infirmary said on Tuesday it had apologised to the family and launched an investigation into what went wrong.
The 22-year-old mother did not realise she was eight weeks pregnant when she began to miscarry on Friday.
Her boyfriend, 23, called a taxi to take them to the hospital where the woman was later told she had miscarried.
Hospital staff are thought to have put the foetus in a patient property bag so the mother would be spared from seeing it.
But as she was about to be transferred by ambulance to St Mary's, a nurse spotted the bag, thought it contained clothes and handed it to the father.
As the woman was preparing to leave St Mary's later, she opened the bag.
A spokeswoman for the infirmary said: "We have clearly not followed the correct procedure in this case for which we are sorry and have already begun to investigate into what went wrong.
"We will be meeting with the family to express our regret and reassure them that measures will be put in place to avoid this happening to anyone else in the future."