Tommy’s is receiving generous support from the Betty Messenger Charitable Foundation
Tommy’s is extremely grateful that the Betty Messenger Charitable Foundation has committed £150,000 over three years to the National Centre for Miscarriage Research.
This incredibly generous grant is funding a research project at the University of Warwick. The project aims to develop a pre-pregnancy test for identifying problems with the uterus and predicting miscarriage risk.
The Betty Messenger Charitable Foundation
Betty Messenger (1932-2012) was born in Stokenchurch, a village in Buckinghamshire. She went into her father's timber and chair-making business before branching out into farming and commercial property. Her property portfolio now forms the core of funds at the disposal of the Foundation.
These, however, are only the bare bones of Betty's colourful life. She played hockey to national level, raised Welsh Cobb horses, rode with the Vale of Aylesbury Hunt, loved fast cars and enjoyed good food and wine. She was also a discerning collector of antique furniture, as well as silver spoons. She practiced medieval calligraphy and wood engraving. She loved dogs, and German Shepherds in particular.
Betty never married or moved from Stokenchurch. Throughout her life she supported the local community, helping in particular those who lacked the opportunity to fulfil their dreams. This was consistent with her desire to help those who "fell through the cracks", as she put it, an aim that now underpins the work of the Foundation.
Tommy’s National Centre for Miscarriage Research
Tragically, one in four pregnancies ends in miscarriage. This is devastating for any parent, but in most cases we cannot explain why it happened, or whether it will happen again. Tommy’s is dedicated to changing this.
The Tommy’s National Centre for Miscarriage Research is a collaboration between the University of Birmingham, University of Warwick and Imperial College London, along with their partner hospitals. Together with their partner hospitals, they are running specialist clinics enabling 24,000 women per year to access treatment and support and participate in Tommy’s research studies. We want to answer four questions that we know are important to parents:
• why miscarriage happens;
• if it is likely to happen again;
• how to prevent it; and
• how to provide appropriate aftercare.
Why the Betty Messenger Charitable Foundation’s support is important
Currently, women are not eligible for clinical investigations until they have endured three miscarriages. This means that women have to endure this distressing experience three times before they can seek help – and even then, we frequently lack the knowledge to give them the answers they urgently need.
Medical guidelines will not change unless there is evidence to demonstrate the need for change. That is why we think the best chance of improving the situation is through research.
By funding this research project, the Betty Messenger Charitable Foundation is helping us to move closer to a method of quickly identifying women at high risk of miscarriage. We will then be able to prioritise their care and use our new understanding as a starting point to develop new treatments.
In short, it could mean that more women avoid the trauma of miscarriage and can have the baby they are desperate for.
In addition to our core work on miscarriage, stillbirth, preterm birth and pre-eclampsia, Tommy’s also funds projects that research the effects of lifestyle and well-being on pregnancy and on the later life of the child.
When a baby dies after 24 weeks of gestation, it is called a stillbirth. Around 2.6 million babies are stillborn each year. Tommy’s research is helping to change this.
Around 60,000 babies are born prematurely each year in the UK. These babies are vulnerable – they are born before they have grown to cope with the outside world. Tommy’s is saving lives by researching how we can prevent premature births by finding those at risk early on.
1 in 4 women experience miscarriage in their lifetimes, and 1 in 100 have 3 or more miscarriages in a row. We want to change this so that women no longer have to suffer the trauma of losing their babies.