Miscarriage is by far the biggest cause of pregnancy loss in the UK, with one in four pregnancies ending in this way. 85 per cent of miscarriages happen in the first 12 weeks, but there is little known about how and why they occur, leaving couples grieving with few answers and little support.
The University is leading a collaboration to fund much-needed research into early miscarriage at the Tommy's National Centre for Miscarriage Research, which is the first of its kind in the UK.
What's the impact?
Current health guidelines mean that annually 200,000 mothers and their partners must endure three consecutive pregnancies that end in early miscarriage before there is any investigation. One of the primary aims of the new Tommy’s Centre is to challenge this. Research is crucial to changing the situation. The centre will seek to understand why miscarriage happens, if it is likely to happen again, how to prevent it, and how to provide appropriate aftercare.
Professor Arri Coomarasamy
Director, Tommy’s National Centre for Miscarriage Research
“Miscarriage is the most common complication of pregnancy but also a deeply personal and often isolating experience for women and couples. Many questions remain unanswered. Here in Birmingham we're determined to find the answers.”
Areas the centre will research include:
- Genetic causes of miscarriage, including a possible connection to damaged DNA in sperm
- The role of bacteria in miscarriage
- Predicting the risk of miscarriage by developing sophisticated computerised risk prediction models, using clinical data from across the country
- Identifying the best ways to support women who have experienced miscarriage
Opened in April 2016, the Tommy's National Early Miscarriage Centre is Europe's largest research centre dedicated to preventing miscarriage and improving care. It involves a partnership of three universities: the University of Birmingham, the University of Warwick, and Imperial College London. Birmingham is leading the collaboration due to its track record in pioneering early pregnancy treatment and support. The three sites will work together to run specialist clinics, enabling 24,000 women per year to access treatment and support and participate in Tommy’s research.
How you can help
Couples left devastated after experiencing recurrent miscarriage often don't know why it happens. The subject is rarely discussed, meaning those who experience it are left feeling isolated and bereaved. Your donation will help our researchers find answers for them. For further information about this project and how you can help, email email@example.com.