Can you tell her this time will be different?
You see her when no one else does. You hold her when there’s another baby photo on Facebook.
Three positive pregnancy tests in a year, but that baby outfit she bought the first time is still
folded up in a drawer. She threw away the last test without saying a word. She says she's not
letting it get to her.
Another waiting room. She taps her feet, talks politely with the staff, stares at the noticeboard.
When they call her in for the ultrasound, you want to say something hopeful, something encouraging.
So do we.
Unrestricted donations have helped us run a trial testing whether we could improve womb linings with heparin injections. It turns out we can’t, but we’re one step closer to finding out what does work.
To understand the context of our work, you have to realise that one in ten couples trying for a baby fail to conceive. After several attempts, IVF helps 70% of them to have children, but three in ten couples still can't conceive or simply face repeated miscarriages.
We’ve found that these problems can be caused by inadequate womb lining, and wondered if we could help this by administering heparin directly into the uterus, so we ran a trial with 40 women to test the idea.
Thanks to the £12,000 we were awarded, we were able to perform complex molecular analysis (RNA-seq) on the samples.
We were also able to work with clinical trial specialists, laboratory scientists and applied mathematics experts for the first time. We found that womb linings were generally improved, although not by the heparin itself as the control group had similar results.
We may not have found a miracle cure, but we realised what was possible as a team, and subsequently worked together to win a £3 million centre grant as part of the Tommy's National Miscarriage Centre. This work will stimulate new developments in the field.
The trial also gave hope it gave to participants, helping them see that we’re trying to find radical new solutions to their problems, and encouraged them to keep going. Many have since achieved the dream of a successful childbirth with our help.
Professor Siobhan Quenby, Professor of Obstetrics