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Assisted conception and women's health research

The research conducted within the Assisted Conception Unit at Guy’s and St Thomas’ aims to help people who are having difficult conceiving. There is no single treatment suitable for everyone and we are researching all causes of reduced fertility in men and women.

About our research

One area of focus for our team is preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD). PGD deals with treatments for who know they have, or carry, a serious genetic condition that they do not want to pass onto their children. We have the largest and most successful PGD research programme in the UK – approximately 60% of PGD carried out in the UK happens in our clinic.

Our work invented a revolutionary technique called ‘preimplantation genetic haplotyping’, which is more reliable, allows us to test for more genetic conditions, and identifies more embryos that are suitable for implantation. This technique is being taken up by other clinics in the UK and around the world.

We have also conducted a trial looking at how body mass index (BMI) impacts on the success of IVF treatment and pioneered a new cervical swab which can help predict premature birth. Our researchers developed the first simulator, called Desperate Debra, used to train doctors in dealing with late-stage (emergency) caesareans.

Current studies

  • Pregnancy And neonatal outcomes for women with COVID-19 (PAN-COVID)

    The COVID-19 outbreak will affect thousands of pregnant women globally and evidence is currently limited on its impact on pregnancy and neonates.

    There is a need to rapidly collect clinical experience of COVID-19 in pregnancy and the neonates to inform the global community about the natural history of the disease and guide improvements in clinical care and public health. The PAN-COVID registry is centre-based and aims to offer a continuously updated collection of clinical case reports from around the world.

    Our research questions are to explore the experience of COVID-19 and:

    • miscarriage
    • fetal growth restriction and stillbirth
    • pre-term delivery
    • transmission from mother to baby.

    Modelling and opinion on the extent and peak of the outbreak suggests a broad time period over which the virus may impact on global populations. Our proposed registry will provide weekly feedback of data to the clinical community and will allow them to adapt their response based on the most the current information available.

  • Hyperemesis gravidarum

    NIHR BioResource rare diseases collaboration

    Severe hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) describes severe nausea and vomiting of pregnancy where women cannot maintain food and fluid intake and it can make them very unwell. There is evidence for genetic causes of severe HG but only a very small number of research studies have been performed.

    We will be running the largest proposed study to date on the condition, which will contribute samples to the NIHR National BioResource. The study aims to recruit over 500 women across the UK with hyperemesis gravidarum. They will contribute blood samples and clinical information to build a database of information about the condition. Scientists hope that this will help them understand more about the genetic basis for the condition and potentially find new ways to treat it.

    This trial is not yet open to patients. If you are interested in taking part in this NIHR national BioResource study please contact Nbr@bioresource.nihr.ac.uk.

 

Patient services

Take part in a clinical trial

Find out how you can take part in a clinical trial at Guy’s and St Thomas’ and what is involved.