Petition – Miscarriage Testing Background
INVESTIGATING THE CAUSE OF MISCARRIAGE: (PE01443)
Petitioner: Maureen Sharkey on behalf of Scottish Care & Information on Miscarriage (Miscarriage Support)
Miscarriage Support are calling on the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to offer all women, who have suffered miscarriage, investigations following one loss through miscarriage and to review NHS Scotland’s policy on the investigation and treatment of couples who experience miscarriage to help relieve the anxiety and distress to women caused by the current guidelines.
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Since 1994 Scottish Care & Information on Miscarriage (Miscarriage Support) have offered therapeutic counselling support to all women who have suffered miscarriage regardless of gestation or recurrence of their loss. We are recognised by the Scottish Government as being the only organisation of our kind in Scotland. We also offer counselling support to women who have suffered stillbirth or neonatal loss. Our website is: www.miscarriagesupport.org.uk
To ensure all-round support we offer women referrals to hospitals, GP’s and clinics to assist with the medical attention required during miscarriage, in an emergency situation and following miscarriage.
Currently, it is only women who suffer recurrent miscarriages (three consecutive miscarriages in a row) in the first trimester who are offered testing or women in the second trimester. The Miscarriage Support Management Committee would like an immediate review of this policy to assist in relieving the anxiety and distress caused by the current guidelines. Our clients regularly report to us the distress that the policy causes them. It is important to us and our clients that this is changed as there is no valid medical evidence for this policy and we believe that it is a matter for government direction.
We are the only, Scottish based, charity who deal therapeutically, with the effects of miscarriage through counselling.
The latest statistics show that in 2010 there were 5,708 miscarriages in Scotland alone (ISD Scotland July 2012). The problem is that due to the large number of miscarriages and that miscarriage is seen as a gender issue this means that no research has been done to validate the current definition of recurrent miscarriage.
This policy causes high levels of anxiety and distress to women, which has a knock-on effect on their families. According to our clients self evaluation their most common thoughts and feelings following miscarriage are illustrated in the graph.
Below are some of the statements that our client group have made as a result of the current criteria for testing to be carried out:
I can’t believe that I’ve got to go through this all again, to get testing done, I feel very depressed about that
I had 4 miscarriages in a row and I got very limited help and advice. They just focused on the Rhesus negative part of things and my age and blamed it all on that. They weren’t willing to do anything else, they just advised me to keep trying
Before my third miscarriage, I was determined to get pregnant quickly just to be offered tests, but in hindsight I don’t think that I was ready.
We find this policy inexplicable as it delays the finding of medical reasons and condemns some women to the trauma of miscarriage who would otherwise not have to go through such a distressing experience. We strongly feel that there is a need for a review of NHS Scotland’s policy on this issue.