Tommy's Net

Tommy’s are building a data platform to help different hospitals and researchers work together to prevent miscarriage.
  • Authors list

    Professor Siobhan Quenby, Professor Theodoros Arvanitis, Professor Arri Coomarasamy, Omar Khan, Sarah Lim Choi Keung, Dr Rebecca Shields, Dr Stephen Quinn, Dr Adam Devall

    Start date: 2016
    End date: 2026

Why do we need this research?

It is estimated that 5% of women experience two consecutive miscarriages, and approximately 1% suffer from recurrent miscarriage, which is defined as three or more miscarriages in a row. Several factors have been linked to an increased risk of miscarriage and recurrent miscarriage – including increased age, high BMI and being a smoker – but there are no robust risk prediction models that are currently used in clinical practice.

Better miscarriage care must include better knowledge of risk factors, as well as the development of new tests and treatments. That way, we can say how likely it is that a woman will miscarry in the future and try to stop it from happening.

What’s happening in this project?

Our researchers are building Tommy’s Net, a database that holds pregnancy and outcomes information about women who are participating in Tommy’s miscarriage studies in many different locations, alongside their current medical records and details of subsequent pregnancies. This will bring together a vast amount of data from different places to help researchers find out more about the women who are most at risk of miscarriage.

So far, the team have collected data from over 1,800 women and 1,500 male partners who attended recurrent miscarriage clinics at hospitals in Coventry, Birmingham and London, which form the National Centre for Miscarriage Research. By looking at the first 777 women included in Tommy’s Net, our researchers found that, within two years of their first clinic visit, 6 in 10 of these women went on to have a pregnancy that lasted longer than 24 weeks. The team found that 1 in 4 of the women referred to a recurrent miscarriage clinic were overweight and that 7% of the women smoked. Interestingly, the team found that some women attending the clinics struggled to conceive, and they now want to find out whether there are any characteristics – such as smoking, anxiety and reduced ovarian reserves – that make this more likely, so that these women can get help with fertility as early as possible.

The team are also using Tommy’s Net to find better ways of detecting whether a miscarriage occurred as a result of the baby having a genetic abnormality. At the moment, nearly 1 in 3 samples of miscarried tissue are not suitable for genetic analysis, meaning that many families don’t get an explanation as to why their miscarriage happened. Our researchers think that it should be possible to use reassurance ultrasound scans, which are carried out early in pregnancy, to predict whether a baby has any genetic abnormalities, and are looking at detailed scan information from Tommy’s Net to confirm this.

What difference will this project make?

Tommy’s Net will allow hospitals to work together much more efficiently to give the people they look after the best possible care. Scientists will also be able to use Tommy’s Net to share data for research, helping them to study miscarriage more effectively. This project should ultimately help to improve care for people affected by miscarriage and find new ways to predict and prevent it in the future.

Thanks for your interest in our research

Tommy's funds research across the UK investigating the reasons for miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth. We can keep you updated on ways you can support our work. If you would like to join our fight against baby loss and premature birth, click here.