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After experiencing five miscarriages in two years, Georgie found herself overcome with grief. Battling with deep sadness, she often wondered "what's wrong with me?" Thankfully, a treatment for women who suffer multiple miscarriages might be around the corner.
"I'm sorry, but given the amount of blood, I'm certain you've had a miscarriage," the doctor said, pushing a box of tissues across her desk towards me.
I sobbed, the pain of my breaking heart outdoing the cramps in my uterus.
At seven weeks it was considered an 'early miscarriage' and my doctor was matter-of-fact as she reminded me that it was incredibly common.
But despite the statistics, nothing can prepare you for the roller-coaster of grief that miscarriage puts you on.
I am very fortunate to have only experienced one miscarriage, but many others suffer multiple losses on the journey to parenthood.
My friend Georgie*, for example. Georgie is in her late thirties and has had five miscarriages in the last two years.
"It's sh*t and there is no disguising it," she says.
"Sometimes I can be philosophical about it, but there are days that I hate everyone and everything."
One of the hardest things for Georgie has been the lack of explanation. "I'm constantly asking myself 'what's wrong with me'," she says.
As many as one woman in every 100 will experience recurrent miscarriage and until very recently, there have been frustratingly few answers available.
But a breakthrough study from the University of Warwick (in the UK) may have discovered the reason why some women suffer multiple miscarriages. Better still; a treatment may be just around the corner.
During the study, scientists discovered that a lack of stem cells in the womb lining is causing thousands of women to suffer from recurrent miscarriages.
Jan Brosens, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the university led the team who unearthed the link between stem cells and miscarriage. "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," he said.
The researchers examined tissue samples from the womb lining, donated by 183 women who were being treated at the Implantation Research Clinic, University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust.
The team found that an "epigenetic signature", which is typical of stem cells, was absent in cultures established from womb biopsies taken from women suffering recurrent miscarriages.
They also found that fewer stem cells could be isolated from the lining of the womb from recurrent miscarriage patients in comparison with women in the study's control group.
"After an embryo has implanted, the lining of the uterus develops into a specialised structure called the decidua, and this process can be replicated when cells from the uterus are cultured in the lab.
"Cultured cells from women who had had three or more consecutive miscarriages showed that ageing cells in the lining of the womb don't have the ability to prepare adequately for pregnancy," Professor Brosens explains.
Siobhan Quenby is a professor of obstetrics and the co-author of the study. She says that the next challenge is to develop strategies to increase the function of stem cells in the womb lining.
"We will start piloting new interventions to improve the lining of the womb in the spring of 2016," she said.
For women such as Georgie, this research brings new hope.
"Infertility can be so all consuming and heartbreaking, it can totally take over your life," she says.
"Just knowing that there could be a light at the end of the tunnel is enough to ease the pressure."
*Name has been changed
If you are struggling with pregnancy loss you can call Sands on 1300 0 72637
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