“Why do pregnancies implant in the wrong place?” Talk at Edinburgh International Science Festival

Dr Andrew Horne, medical advisor to The EPT and his colleage, Colin Duncan are giving a lecture at the Edinburgh Science Festival 2012.



Their talk “Why do pregnancies implant in the wrong place?” Will cover the following points

Early pregnancy loss in women, which is often due to defects that occur before, during or immediately after embryo implantation, is a worldwide social and economic concern. Although the human population is growing rapidly and will probably reach nine billion by 2050, nearly 15% of couples worldwide are childless because of infertility, 20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage and over 1% of pregnancies are ectopic (implant outside of the womb). There are more than 30,000 ectopic pregnancies in the UK each year and the number of ectopic pregnancies in the developing world likely exceeds this but the true number is not known. Ectopic pregnancies still kill young women. Most implant in the Fallopian tube (98%) and this can lead to rupture and internal bleeding if untreated. Ectopic pregnancy is difficult to diagnose – it can present without symptoms, or mimic a miscarriage. Scientists are now trying to identify proteins produced in the blood that appear when a pregnancy is ectopic. We do not know what causes ectopic pregnancy, but smoking and previous pelvic infection are major risk factors. In Edinburgh, we have been investigating how these risk factors lead to changes in proteins produced in the Fallopian tube causing ectopic pregnancy. Ectopic pregnancy is also difficult to treat, often requiring an operation. Sometimes it can be treated with an injection but this does not work in over 25% of cases. In Edinburgh and Melbourne, we have been using new drugs to try and treat ectopic pregnancies better and faster. Join Dr Andrew Horne and Dr Colin Duncan (clinician scientists from the MRC Centre for Reproductive Health) to hear about progress being made in diagnosing, understanding and treating ectopic pregnancy.

Edinburgh International Science Festival runs from 30 March – 15 April and the date and time of the talk will be announced by Festival organisers in February. Check the website here for further information about the festival.