Tommy's National Centre for Miscarriage Research

1 in 4 women experience a miscarriage in their lifetime. This is a quarter of all mothers-to-be, a quarter of all families affected by loss. Tommy’s believes that the current situation can and must change – so in 2016, we opened the UK’s first national centre dedicated to miscarriage research.

science lab and equipment

Miscarriage is by far the biggest cause of pregnancy loss in the UK, and it’s also the least understood. Too often, women are left without answers. In many cases, they have to endure three miscarriages in a row before any clinical investigation.

We believe that the best way of changing this is through research. That’s why we have opened Europe’s largest research centre focusing on preventing miscarriage. The Centre is a partnership of three universities: the University of Birmingham, the University of Warwick, and Imperial College London. Together, our track record in miscarriage research is unrivalled, and will allow 24,000 women every year to access treatment and support, and to take part in Tommy’s cutting edge clinical studies.

Tommy’s National Centre for Miscarriage Research focuses on four questions:

  • Why did it happen?
  • Will it happen again?
  • How can we prevent it?
  • How can we care for women emotionally?

Through our research, our team will help uncover what is going wrong in early miscarriage. They will save babies’ lives by turning their discoveries into tests, treatments, and better care for women who are most at risk.

Why we need the Tommy’s National Miscarriage Centre

Current health guidelines mean they need to endure three consecutive early miscarriages before there is any investigation. We want to challenge this. The best chance of changing the situation is through research, so we can give women and their partners the answers, care and help that they need.

We strongly believe that the chromosome problems and the other underlying causes for miscarriage could be preventable. That’s thousands of lives that could be saved.

'I had five further miscarriages over the next three years. I can’t believe I put myself through the heartache and pain so many times. Although we saw specialists we still don’t really know why they happened. There were ‘possible’ reasons and ‘possible’ solutions that made every pregnancy terrifying.' Kate, Tommy’s supporter

We’ll raise the profile of early miscarriage research, and encourage other organisations to invest. To help make it a priority for the government, the team will highlight the economic cost for the NHS. They’ll also grow and lead a network of specialists, and work closely with other Tommy’s centres and researchers across the UK and internationally.

'As a doctor, I wish I could give my patients the answers they are looking for. The thing is, we have the expertise, the technology, the drive - we just need the funding. Tommy's proposed new centre is the most promising chance yet of making breakthroughs in early miscarriage.' Professor Phillip Bennett, Director of the Institute for Reproductive and Developmental Biology at Imperial College

London Research Highlights

In the year since it opened, Tommy’s National Miscarriage Centre is already making strides in improving pregnancy care through research. Here are some of our achievements so far:

  • We are in the process of building Tommy’s Net, a platform that will help us to collect and store information from many different centres. By sharing information, hospitals will be able to work together to carry out more effective research. We expect Tommy’s Net to be fully functional from 2018.
  • Tommy’s has helped secure a £1.8 million National Institute of Health Research grant for the MifeMiso trial, which looks at the best way to medically treat miscarriage.
  • The SIMPLANT trial is the first ever research into a drug that could increase stem cells in the wombs of women who have suffered recurrent miscarriage.
  • Dr. Shehmar, a member of the Tommy’s research team, is the first author of a new Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists Guideline for the Management of Nausea and Vomiting in Pregnancy. These are national clinical guidelines that give doctors standards for the diagnosis and treatment of women across the country.
  • Our research team has been approached by scientists and clinicians from around the world with a view to learning and working together to help women suffering miscarriage.

Current research projects

How to get referred to the Tommy's National Miscarriage Research Centre:

The first step is to visit your GP.

The NHS follows guidance which is set out in NICE guidelines and these say that the GP should refer you after you have has three early miscarriages. Most doctors realise that this can cause considerable distress to women and many hospitals will investigate after two miscarriages. 

After one miscarriage most women go on to have a healthy pregnancy so it is unlikely you will be referred for further investigation after one miscarriage.

Talk to your GP, explain how you are feeling and ask to be referred as soon as possible.

To be referred to a Tommy’s miscarriage clinic, ask to be referred to a named Tommy’s unit when you visit your GP. The clinics will be at the following sites:

One of the benefits of doing this is that you will be offered entry into a research study which may trial the latest tests and/or treatments.

The Tommy's National Early Miscarriage Centre will comprise a partnership of three universities: The University of Birmingham, The University of Warwick, and Imperial College London. The three sites will run specialist clinics enabling 24,000 women per year to access treatment and support and participate in Tommy’s research studies.

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