Study aims to unlock causes of miscarriage thanks to $500,000 boost
Families who have experienced the loss of an unborn baby or fertility problems are being given new hope of becoming parents thanks to cutting-edge research being funded by our $500,000 donation.
The donation from The Lott by Golden Casket to Mater Foundation will fund two separate studies at Mater Research dedicated to improving fertility outcomes and neonatal care.
In Australia, one in six couples experience infertility problems, and one in four pregnant women under the age of 35 will suffer a miscarriage. For women over 40, the risk of miscarriage increases significantly, with one in every two experiencing the loss of an unborn baby.
The first project, led by Mater Research Group Leader of Developmental Molecular Genetics Dr Sandy Richardson, aims to shed light on the devastating “black box” of unexplained pregnancy loss and infertility in mothers.
The research will explore how mobile DNA elements, or “jumping genes”, can cause harmful changes, known as genetic mutations, during the development of an embryo. The team will investigate whether these mutations contribute to infertility and pregnancy loss.
Dr Richardson said the funding would enable Mater researchers to use the latest DNA sequencing technologies to understand more about miscarriages.
“We are hoping to provide a satisfying explanation for an increased proportion of pregnancy losses. If we discover genetic or environmental factors that increase jumping gene activity in embryos, this may open the door to strategies for prediction and prevention of miscarriage,” Dr Richardson said.
The second project to receive funding, led by Mater Neonatologist and Researcher Dr Jasmine Antoine, will look at ways to enhance proficiency in newborn intubation through improved training techniques.
The funding will enable the design, implementation and evaluation of effective training to increase the number of staff that have this specific expertise.
Dr Antoine said unplanned neonatal intubation was rare and not predictable, but when needed, it had to be performed as quickly as possible.
“It’s technically challenging to perform and so increasing the number of medical professionals trained in this technique will mean a competent person is close at hand when this critical lifesaving intervention is needed,” Dr Antoine said.
“Very few babies require intubation soon after being born, but it’s a life- saving event and we want to ensure that key health professionals, including GPs and obstetricians, are as prepared as they possibly can be.”
The Lott by Golden Casket Partnerships Manager Ally Ramsamy said she hoped the donation would make a real difference to couples looking to start and grow their families.
“The statistics surrounding infertility and miscarriage are devastating, and to experience either of these is truly heartbreaking.,” she said.
“We’re honoured to know our donation will help to understand these issues so one day they can ultimately reduce them from occurring.”
Our latest donation continues our long-standing support of Mater Foundation’s research. We initially supported Mater in 1921, and in the past 30 years alone, we’ve committed more than $16 million to their important health initiatives.
To find out more about Mater and how you can support their medical research, head here.