Trust Joins New National Centre for Miscarriage Research

Women who have experienced miscarriage will be able to participate in a new research programme dedicated to understanding more about early miscarriage.


Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust has joined a new National Centre for Miscarriage Research launched by the UK baby charity Tommy’s. St Mary’s Hospital and Queen Charlotte’s and Chelsea Hospital, alongside Imperial College London, will work in partnership with The University of Birmingham, The University of Warwick, Birmingham Women’s Hospital, University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust, to run specialist miscarriage clinics enabling thousands of women per year to participate in Tommy’s research studies alongside their treatment.


This national network will seek to understand why miscarriage happens, if it is likely to happen again and how to prevent it. Tommy’s is also investing in research to better support women and their families following a miscarriage. This work will sit alongside Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust’s existing research into recurrent and early miscarriage.


In the centre’s first year £400,000 is being contributed by Tommy’s supporters, £100,000 from the Genesis Research Trust (with a further £100,000 in the second year) and over £700,000 of institutional funding.


In the first five years Tommy’s commits to researching:

  • Genetic causes including a possible connection to damaged DNA in sperm
  • Exploring new biomarkers for the mechanisms of early pregnancy loss and novel imaging techniques
  • Role of bacteria in miscarriage – new understanding of the role of the oral, gut and vaginal microbiomes in shaping early pregnancy outcomes
  • Predicting the risk of miscarriage by developing sophisticated computerised risk prediction models that pull together clinical data from across the UK
  • Identifying the best ways to support women who have experienced miscarriage

Professor Phillip Bennett, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and Honorary Consultant in Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, said:


“As a doctor, I wish I could give my patients the answers they are looking for. We have the expertise, the technology and the drive - we just need more the funding. Tommy's National Centre for Miscarriage Research gives us a real opportunity to make significant is the most promising chance yet of making breakthroughs in early miscarriage.” 


Miscarriage is by far the biggest cause of pregnancy loss in the UK, and it’s also the least understood by medical science. 250,000 mothers and their partners are affected by miscarriage every year with 85 per cent of miscarriages occurring within the first 12 weeks which is known as early miscarriage.


Professor Tom Bourne Consultant Gynaecologist at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and Adjunct Professor at Imperial College said:


“Miscarriage has always been something “people don’t talk about”. By putting their name and backing behind this national centre, Tommy’s will break this taboo, I think this will lead to a much greater emphasis being given to understanding why miscarriage happens and what we can do to prevent them.


“In clinic the questions we are nearly always asked are: ‘why did it happen?’ ‘Will it happen next time?’ ‘How can I prevent this happening?’ ‘What do I do next?’ It is very hard to tell couples that in most cases we simply don’t know – but with the team involved in the new national centre there is real hope that we will soon be able have these answers.”


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


“Miscarriage is a common but deeply personal and often isolating experience for many couples. Tommy's #misCOURAGE campaign is beginning to provide clear evidence on the wide-scale devastation it causes. 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.”


The Genesis Research Trust has donated £200,000 over two years towards the Tommy’s National Centre for Miscarriage Research Centre. Chaired by Professor Robert Winston, the Genesis Research Trust has funded the largest collection of UK scientists researching the causes and cures of women’s diseases. These include polycystic ovaries, infertility, stillbirth, miscarriage as well as premature birth, genetic disease, environmental influence before birth, stem-cell research and gynaecological cancers.


More information about the National Centre for Miscarriage Research can be found on the Tommy’s website. Information about Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust’s miscarriage service can be found on the Trust website.