Expectant couples are to be invited to participate in a research project designed to help thousands of couples avoid repeated miscarriages and pregnancy complications.
The “Baby Bio Bank” was launched by leading medical experts and will collect blood from mothers and fathers as well as samples from the umbilical cord and placentas of babies. Other detailed medical history will also be explored.
Researchers hope that the bank will be a global resource for medical research projects, examining the causes of recurrent miscarriage, growth problems in the womb, pre-eclampsia, and pre-term delivery.
Professor Lesley Regan, an international expert on recurrent miscarriage, said the four pregnancy complications targeted all had a link. “I think the change in our understanding is that you don’t look at them in isolation,” she said.
Professor Gudrun Moore of the Institute of Child Health said she hoped the bank would act as a database and the project would extend in scope.
Organisers said that research midwives would approach families at their first antenatal clinic and the data collected would be anonymous.
Currently around 250,000 UK pregnancies end in miscarriage and more than 50% of stillbirths remain unexplained.
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