Research into miscarriage

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.

Miscarriage – loss of a pregnancy during the first 23 weeks of gestation– is the most common complication of pregnancy. Among women who know they are pregnant, 1 in 6 pregnancies will end in miscarriage. It is not only felt widely, but deeply. And yet it remains a sad reality that many women will only be investigated after they have suffered through this 3 times in a row.

Read about Tommy's National Miscarriage Centre

Research into why miscarriage happens is the only way we can save lives and prevent future loss. 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.

Here are some of our recent achievements and research highlights:

- We are setting up Tommy’s Net so that women don’t have to go through the pain of suffering three miscarriages before getting help. It will bring together research and information from many different centres to help us study miscarriage more effectively

- 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 - Scientists have found that recurrent miscarriages could be related to stem cells in the womb becoming “exhausted,” but that a drug called sitagliptin could prevent this. The results could lay the foundation for better screening and new treatments to prevent miscarriage

- We may be able to use Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing to find out if miscarriages happened for genetic reasons, by testing DNA from the baby present in the mother’s blood

- We are supporting the CONCEIVE trial 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 1,080 women from 5 weeks of pregnancy through to delivery to help us understand why some women are more at risk of miscarriage than others

Back to Our research 

Individual miscarriage 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 test to 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 test to investigate autoimmune serology, whereby healthy cells inside the body may be attacked by abnormal cells      Y  Y
HbA1C test to investigate for diabetes   Y*    Y
 fetal karyotyping to identify any structural or genetic problems of the foetus   Y*  Y*  Y*
parental karyotyping performed 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

Tommy’[email protected]

Criteria

  • 3 or more early miscarriages
  • one or more late miscarriage(s)
  • women do not need to be from the local area

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 623 6834

[email protected]

[email protected]

Tommy’[email protected]

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

Tommy’[email protected]

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.

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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.

SiM trial                                 

We are investigating whether scratching the lining of the womb could prevent miscarriage among women aged 18 to 42 years and with two or more previous miscarriages.

Please telephone 0247 6964 983 to speak to our clinical secretary about your interest in this research.

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 telephone 0247 6964 983 to speak to the clinic secretary about your interest in this research.

PRISM trial

We are investigating whether progesterone could prevent miscarriage in women with early pregnancy bleeding, a known sign of threatened miscarriage. To be eligible for the study participants must: be aged 16 to 39 years; have an ongoing pregnancy; and have experienced recent early pregnancy bleeding within the last four days during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.

Please telephone 0121 414 9011 to speak to the PRISM trial co-ordinator about your interest in this research.

MifeMiso trial

We are investigating whether a single drug treatment (misoprostol) or a combination of drug treatments (mifepristone plus misoprostol two days later) is best for the medical management of missed miscarriage. To be eligible for the study women must: be diagnosed with a missed miscarriage by pelvic ultrasound scan in the first 13+6 weeks of pregnancy, be opting for medical management, be 16 years of age or over and be willing and able to give informed consent.

Please note, this trial is being conducted at several hospitals across the UK. Therefore, if you are not local to Birmingham, there might be a hospital closer to where you live that is offering this trial. Please email [email protected] to register your interest in taking part in this research

Cell free fetal DNA study

This project investigates whether analysis of cell free fetal DNA could help us to ascertain genetic reasons for early miscarriages. Women with a diagnosis of recurrent miscarriage, threatened miscarriage, missed miscarriage or incomplete miscarriage will be eligible to participate in the study.

Recruitment is not yet under way but preparations are proceeding well so please telephone 0121 623 6837 to speak to the team about your interest in this research.

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.

Recruitment is not yet under way but preparations are proceeding well so please telephone 0121 623 6837 to speak to the team about your interest in this research.

Immune phenotyping study

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

Recruitment is not yet under way but preparations are proceeding well so please telephone 0121 623 6837 to speak to the team about your interest in this research.

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.

Other ongoing studies

The following studies are not recruiting new participants, but still caring for those patients already participating, and we look forward to trial results very soon.

TABLET trial

The TABLET trial seeks to evaluate the effects of thyroxine to prevent miscarriage in women with thyroid antibodies but normal thyroid function. In January 2016 the study completed recruitment and randomisation of more than 900 women after screening almost 10,000 participants from across the UK.

RESPONSE trial

The RESPONSE trial tests a new medication, called NT100, in women with unexplained repeated miscarriages. The study is designed to find out if the medication could improve the chances of maintaining a successful pregnancy, and whether it brings any side effects.

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

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Why our research is needed