Research into miscarriage

1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage. 1 in 100 women have 3 or more miscarriages in a row. Research into this area of pregnancy loss has been underfunded for years.

Miscarriage – loss of a pregnancy during the first 23 weeks – is common. Among women who know they are pregnant, 1 in 6 pregnancies will end in miscarriage. It causes untold emotional and physical pain to couples across the UK.

"There are people who say you can’t miss what you never had. They are totally wrong. The grief is instant, overwhelming and excruciating. You grieve for your unborn child, for yourself, for your partner. For several weeks, months even, we were consumed by intense heartache. We cried ourselves to sleep many nights."

Lewis and his partner Jules had three miscarriages before having a healthy baby girl under the care of a Tommy's clinic.

And yet it remains a shocking reality that under the NHS women will only be tested to find out why they have had a miscarriage after they have suffered through this three times in a row.

Miscarriage has long suffered from an attitude amongst the medical profession that some pregnancies are 'not meant to be' and therefore not worth spending time on. We refuse to accept this. It's not good enough. We know that half of all early miscarriages, for example, are not due to chromosomal abnormalities, but have underlying causes that we can cure.

That's why, in 2016, Tommy’s opened the UK’s first national centre dedicated to miscarriage research. By finding the root causes of miscarriage, we can take steps to stop it from happening. We can also give parents-to-be the answers they need, so they are not left without reasons for their loss.

Miscarriage research highlights

  • The SIMPLANT trial is researching a drug that could increase stem cells in the wombs of women who have suffered recurrent miscarriage.
  • We are testing fetal DNA to see if miscarriages happened for genetic reasons. This could help parents suffering miscarriage to find explanations for their loss.
  • We are following up on studies that appear to show that damage to the DNA of sperm can more than double the risk of miscarriage.
  • The CONCEIVE trial is looking to see if differences in women’s heart and blood vessels before or early in pregnancy can lead to miscarriage.
  • The EPOS study is looking at over 1,100 women from 5 weeks of pregnancy through to delivery to help us understand why some women are more at risk of miscarriage than others.
  • We are in the process of building Tommy’s Net, a platform that will help us to collect and store information from many different hospitals. By sharing information, we will be able carry out more effective research.
  • 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.

Read more about the Tommy's National Miscarriage Centre

"Miscarriage is common and causes widespread devastation. At the Tommy's National Centre for Miscarriage Research, we are determined to make a difference. The scientists and the clinicians from the three universities and the four trusts constitute a world class team. We are committed to understand the causes of miscarriage and find ways to prevent it. Tommy's investment in the new Centre is the best thing that has happened to miscarriage research. It will change many lives."

Professor Arri Coomarasamy, Director of Tommy’s National Centre for Miscarriage Research

Join our #TogetherForChange campaign

Tommy's funds research across the UK investigating the reasons for pregnancy complications and loss. We can keep you updated on our work and opportunities to support our campaign for change. If you're interested in joining our campaign for change, click here.

Find a miscarriage research project

Completed research projects

How to get a referral to the Tommy's National Miscarriage Centre

Referral information for the Tommy’s National Miscarriage Research Centre clinics

Tommy’s National Centre for Miscarriage Research has recurrent miscarriage clinics in three different sites in the UK:

  • Birmingham Women’s Hospital
  • University Hospital Coventry
  • St Mary’s Hospital London

All of the clinics will accept patients who have had 3 miscarriages and an appropriate General Practitioner (GP) referral from anywhere within the UK (there is more specific information on criteria for each clinic below). This will provide you (and your partner) with the opportunity to be part of research towards finding the cause of repeated miscarriages. 

The clinics are centres of excellence and work hand in hand with the research centres by offering women the opportunity to have new tests and take part in new trials.

Tommy’s strong view is that all women should get referral after 2 miscarriages and our clinicians and centre directors are working towards this goal. However, until it is made normal NHS funded practice, we are unable to offer it as standard across the clinics. Currently only the clinic in Coventry has an arrangement that allows women with 2 miscarriages to be referred and then only from the local area (see more below).

If you have had 3 miscarriages and wish to be referred to a Tommy’s clinic, you do not have to live within the area of any of the clinics; a GP referral can be made to whichever centre is convenient to you. 

Your referral can be made on the basis that the Tommy’s centre offers tests and treatments not offered by your local hospital. This can be the reason for your request for out-of-area referral.

Choice is enshrined in the NHS charter.

There is not a specific referral form that needs to be used; your GP can use their own.

NHS funded tests available by clinic

Test

Purpose

Birmingham

London 

Coventry

lupus anticoagulant test to test for anti-phospholipid antibodies (sticky blood conditions) Y Y Y
anti-cardiolipin antibody testto test for anti-phospholipid antibodies (sticky blood conditions)  Y Y Y
thrombophilia screen to test for congenital sticky blood conditions   Y
thromboelastogram analysis to test for global bleeding tendencies  Y 
detailed pelvic ultrasound scanning to look for abnormalities in the womb or ovaries Y  
rubella test to ensure immunity to German measles or rubella Y  
TSH, T3 and T4 tests to identify any problems with the thyroid gland Y*  
vitamin D test to identify vitamin D deficiency Y*  
coeliac disease screen - TTG antibody testto investigate autoimmune serology, whereby healthy cells inside the body may be attacked by abnormal cells    Y Y
HbA1C testto investigate for diabetes  Y*  Y
 fetal karyotypingto identify any structural or genetic problems of the foetus  Y* Y* Y*
parental karyotypingperformed if the above test reveals any genetic issues, to identify any genetic abnormalities in either partner   Y* Y* Y*

*if indicated

Referral details by clinic

Birmingham

Criteria

  • 3 or more early miscarriages
  • GP registered in England, Scotland or Northern Ireland

Contact details for referrals

The Tommy’s Miscarriage Clinic @ Birmingham
c/o Mrs Wendy Gibson, Medical Secretaries
Birmingham Womens NHS Foundation Trust
Mindelsohn Way
Edgbaston
Birmingham
B15 2TG

[email protected]

0121 472 1377 ext 5428

[email protected]

London

Criteria

  • 3 or more early miscarriages
  • one or more late miscarriage(s)
  • women referred should be <42 years old
  • women do not need to be from the local area

Contact details for referrals

Professor Lesley Regan
Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology
St Mary's Hospital
Recurrent Miscarriage Office
Ground Floor, Mint Wing
South Wharf Road
London
W2 1NY

Coventry

Criteria

  • 2 or more miscarriages if local to Coventry
  • 3 or more early miscarriages if from outside this area
  • one or more late miscarriage(s)

Contact details for referrals

Professor Quenby
Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust
Clifford Bridge Road
Coventry
CV2 2DX

Tel: 02476967528

Fax: 02476967584


More details on how to take part in our clinical trials here.

Hide details

Current research trials looking for participants

Can you help us find answers to prevent miscarriages?

The team at the Tommy’s National Centre for Miscarriage Research is asking women and couples with experience of miscarriages to consider taking part in one of our active clinical trials. We are trying to understand the reasons for miscarriages, and to improve treatment for repeated miscarriages and threatened miscarriages. We believe research is the key to identify and develop solutions. 

Alife2 trial

We are investigating whether anti-coagulant (blood thinning) treatment could reduce the risk of miscarriage in women aged 18 to 42 years, with two or more previous miscarriages and with inherited thrombophilia. Thrombophilia is when your blood has a tendency to clot more than normal.

Please call the trial coordinating centre on 02476 150 989 or email [email protected] to ask about the nearest hospital to where you live that is offering the trial.

Sperm DNA fragmentation study

This project investigates whether miscarriage could be caused by sperm DNA damage in the male partner of couples having investigations for recurrent miscarriage.

This research study is only being run at Birmingham Women’s Hospital. If you would like to take part and want more information please email [email protected].

Immune phenotyping study

We are investigating whether adaptations of the maternal immune system could be implicated in recurrent miscarriage.

This research study is only being run at Birmingham Women’s Hospital. If you would like to take part and want more information please email [email protected].

Men living through multiple miscarriages study

This project aims to identify how men can be supported in order to enable early pregnancy doctors, midwives and nurses to improve miscarriage care and support.

If you would like to participate, please fill in this online form

CERM trial

A healthy lining of the womb is important for conception and the support of the developing foetus. An imbalance of the bacteria that occupy this space can cause inflammation of the womb (endometritis) which can cause miscarriage. Antibiotics can reduce this inflammation, this treatment is available at private clinics in some European countries but there is no confirming evidence to support this approach. Therefore, this study aims to determine if the antibiotic (doxycycline), taken before conception, improves pregnancy outcome in women with recurrent miscarriage associated with chronic endometritis. This trial is for women aged 18-41 who have had 2 or more consecutive first trimester miscarriages and have no apparent cause for these miscarriages.

Please call the trial coordinating centre on 02476 150 989 or email [email protected] to ask about the nearest hospital to where you live that is offering the trial.

SEE U pilot trial

Miscarriage can have a negative effect on both the physical and mental health of the woman and her partner. Sometimes it is necessary for doctors to suggest surgical treatment. Unfortunately, this can be associated with various problems such as causing a hole in the womb, infection, scarring and bleeding. This can cause problems with periods and decrease the chances of getting pregnant in the future. One of the ways that may improve gynaecological services is to increase the number of procedures performed under direct vision using hysteroscopy (a camera test which looks inside the womb), with the aim of improving treatment success rates and reducing complications. Applying similar principles to surgical treatment of miscarriage, the main aim of this study is to assess whether viewing the inside of the womb, with an ultrasound scan, during the surgical removal of the pregnancy tissue can help with the success of the procedure. This trial is for women aged 18 and over who have chosen to have surgical management of their miscarriage.

Please call the trial coordinating centre on 0121 4147878 or email [email protected] to ask about the nearest hospital to where you live that is offering the trial.

If you would like to take part in our active studies:

As you can see from the information above, some of our studies are designed to suit women and couples with particular medical conditions. If you would like to participate in any of our studies then our trained clinicians will assess your eligibility to take part and discuss the next steps with you. It may be necessary for you to be referred by your GP.

Please also be aware that each participant in a clinical trial will be allocated to receive either the test or treatment that is being studied, or another test or treatment (usually standard care). Neither you nor your doctor or nurse will be able to choose your allocation, or even know the allocation until the end of the study. A computer will make the allocations randomly, like tossing a coin.

Help fund our research

You can also get involved by raising money to support our research work. Donate now.

Visit our section of information and advice on miscarriage

Hide details