Waiting for a Heartbeat


Miscarriage is the most common complication in pregnancy, but for many women it’s an experience that is destined to be repeated time and again. According to estimates, it’s not uncommon for women to miscarriage, up to 50 percent of fertilised eggs are lost and fail to develop into a foetus. And for those who know they are pregnant, the rate is somewhere between 15-20%. If a woman is going to miscarriage it will generally occur within the first seven weeks, but once a heart beat has been detected the rate is significantly reduced. As heartbreaking as it is, it is a reproductive phenomenon that medical science it still trying to understand.

The challenge for medicine is to discover whether women in this film are miscarrying due to bad luck or whether they have an underlying cause. Filmed over 12 months, the documentary follows three couples who went in search of answers, in hope that their next pregnancy will succeed.

At 25, Rachel has already been through six miscarriages, she unfortunately falls within the 1% of women who are unable to give birth to a live baby. As a patient at the St Mary’s Hospital in London, Rachel is seeing a team of specialized scientists who endeavour to help women give birth to a live baby. For Joanne and Naomi, both aged in their 30s, they have lost eight pregnancies between them. In the laboratories at St Mary’s, their blood is being tested in the hunt for clues that could give them answers. The scientists will look for the trail of genetic defects that can be passed from mother to embryo, it’s these defects that can hinder the blueprint for life from the very start.

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