Women who have had recurrent miscarriages will participate in a groundbreaking study to find out if antibiotics can reduce inflammation of the uterus and increase rates of live births.
Recurrent miscarriages, the loss of three or more consecutive pregnancies, affect thousands of couples across the UK each year, and a quarter of pregnancies end in miscarriage.
As part of research on recurrent miscarriage, Professor Siobhan Quenby and her team at Warwick University are investigating chronic endometritis, an inflammatory condition of the uterus lining.
They received £ 1.9 million from the National Institute for Health Research to perform the first antibiotic-controlled study hoping to reduce endometrial inflammation, with 3,000 women who had recurrent miscarriages being recruited for treatment in 10 hospitals.
Previous research has found that women with higher levels of inflammation of the uterus were 60% more likely to have a baby, compared with 80% for those with lower levels.
Women recruited for the trial, who will start accepting candidates through a website launched in October, will be divided into two groups: those with mild inflammation and those with higher levels of inflammation.
Half of each group will receive the doxycycline antibiotic and the rest will receive a placebo.
Women will be checked throughout the study to see if antibiotics reduce inflammation and increase live birth rates, with regular monitoring and analysis to ensure that patients are not negatively affected.
Quenby told Sky News: "This four-year test will answer many, many questions.
"We will recruit for two years and then allow time for pregnancies and births. Abortion results in sadness for parents and families, people have lost hope of the baby and need to talk to people about the loss."
Endometritis may cause bleeding and pain in some women, while others may not show obvious indications.
Because there are no standard screening tests for endometritis, researchers will also try to develop tests that will help identify women with the disease in the future.
The study aims to reduce abortion rates by 50%.
Quenby added, "Our goal is to try to improve the uterus before getting pregnant. Most miscarriages occur within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy and our goal is to see a reduction in these early miscarriages."