According to Parents.com, roughly 15 percent of known pregnancies end in miscarriage but some women sadly experience this heartache multiple times while trying to conceive. Now, for the first time, scientists may have offered women a glimmer of hope, as they reveal that they are one step closer to discovering the cause of multiple miscarriages and therefore a possible treatment.
The study, which was published in the Stem Cells journal, is a collaboration between the University of Warwick‘s medical school and the Warwick systems biology centre. The research was conducted on the tissue samples from the womb linings of 183 women who were being treated at the Implantation Research Clinic at the University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust.
They found that a lack of stem cells lining the womb caused women to miscarry repeatedly as fewer stem cells make the lining of the womb age quicker than it should. This results in the foetus’ death, The Independent reports.
The team behind the findings will now be working on a treatment to help women who have suffered multiple miscarriages and could help the 1 in 100 women who experience repeated miscarriages (defined as a loss of three or more consecutive pregnancies).
Head of the research team and professor of obstetrics and gynaecology, Jan Brosens, spoke to The Guardian about the findings saying, “We have discovered that the lining of the womb in the recurrent miscarriage patients we studied is already defective before pregnancy.”
“I can envisage that we will be able to correct these defects before the patient tries to achieve another pregnancy. In fact, this may be the only way to really prevent miscarriages in these cases.”
Co-author of the study, and University of Warwick professor of obstetrics, Siobhan Quenby revealed that they were hoping to increase the function of the stem cells in the womb and improve the lining.
“Our focus will be two-fold. First, we wish to improve the screening of women at risk of recurrent miscarriage by developing new endometrial tests,” Quenby said.
“Second, there are a number of drugs and other interventions, such as endometrial ‘scratch’, a procedure used to help embryos implant more successfully, that have the potential to increase the stem cell populations in the womb lining.”