Tommy’s news, 03/05/2017
This time last year, Tommy’s realised a long-term goal of opening Europe’s largest centre dedicated entirely to miscarriage research.
The National Centre for Miscarriage Research is comprised of a partnership of three universities; the University of Birmingham, the University of Warwick, and Imperial College London.
They are researching why a miscarriage happens, if it is likely to happen again, how to prevent it and how to provide appropriate aftercare.
Each site also runs specialist clinics to help more women access treatment.
In just one year, our clinics have seen over 24,000 couples to help them realise their dreams of having a family.
‘I was giving up hope of ever having a child and said I definitely could not try again. But then I was referred to the research midwifery team at the University Hospital of Coventry and Warwick. They did lots of different tests and put me in for the SIM study (scratch in miscarriage). So, I decided to go for it. Anything was worth a go as I was destined to have a child and be a mother, but I was still very unsure if I could put myself through it all again.’
Sam, a patient of Tommy’s National Centre for Miscarriage Research.
Fortunately, Sam welcomed her beautiful healthy baby boy Hughie to the world in February 2017. She said, ‘we can't thank the research team enough as we believe that their study helped us to conceive.’
The combined effort of clinics and research centres enable our professors to use their research in clinical practise and find the answers quicker.
‘Through collaboration we tackle real patient priorities and set a spotlight on translation from theory to practice. We are speeding advancement towards better outcomes for families across the country. We believe that by sharing knowledge, skills and technologies we can not only accelerate scientific discoveries but also develop a groundswell of social and cultural recognition for miscarriages, so that broken-hearted parents no longer face the loss in silence or shame. Those who miscarry must not be left in emotional isolation.’
Helen Williams, Research Associate at Tommy’s Birmingham Centre.
The centres are conducting pioneering research and making great strides in finding out the causes for previously unexplained miscarriages.
Tommy’s Professor Jan Brosen, from Warwick, has recently hit headlines with his ground breaking research into the best time to conceive after miscarriage.
This could be the start of an entirely new approach to helping women who miscarry.
If successful, this research could find that choosing the best time to conceive may be the answer to avoiding the heartache of further miscarriages.
Research from our team at the University of Birmingham has also changed the way we are looking at miscarriage. They have discovered that damaged sperm could be at the heart of many unexplained miscarriages, as opposed to problems with the women, as previously believed.
The team has discovered that damage to sperm DNA more than doubles the risk of miscarriage.
Up to one in three couples who’ve lost multiple babies in early pregnancy could have been affected by damaged sperm DNA.
Not only are our teams improving clinical outcomes for women and their families, they are also providing vital support.
Researchers at Tommy’s National Centre for Miscarriage Research at Imperial College London found that early miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy may trigger post-traumatic stress disorder.
This research emphasizes a real need for better support for couples who miscarry.
Volunteers at our centres have responded by setting up support groups in Birmingham and London, offering parents a caring and supportive environment to go to and talk about their loss. They also show couples that they are not the only ones experiencing problems on their road to parenthood and they do not have to cope alone.
‘Attending the support group was a turning point for me. I had been suffering in silence for a long time. Meeting other people and talking about our experiences helped me see that I was not alone. The facilitators, Flora and Halima, were wonderfully supportive during the session and helped me to release the pain and anger I had been feeling. I also was able to meet the staff from the early pregnancy unit, who were able to offer me reassurance that they would be there for me in a future pregnancy.’
An attendee of our London support group who wished to remain anonymous.
We are extremely proud of all that the centre has achieved across the past year and can’t wait to see where we will be in another year’s time!
We want to say an enormous thank you to all of the sponsors, donors and supporters who made opening this centre possible.
‘We believe Tommy’s research makes a difference and we are deeply grateful for the financial contributions, infrastructure, expertise and experience of all Tommy’s supporters and stakeholders.’ Birmingham Miscarriage Centre
From the bottom of our hearts, and on behalf of the families this centre is helping, thank you!