Promoting and funding research that could help to reduce stillbirth and neonatal death is one of our three core aims.

We support a range of projects and promote collaboration amongst researchers to agree priorities and ensure that the limited funds we have are put to best use.

For an otherwise healthy baby to die undelivered near term is, with hindsight, an easily avoidable event. Research to make it avoidable in practice is a priority.” Professor Jim Thornton, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Nottingham

Although the UK’s stillbirth rate has fallen slightly in recent years, it remains unacceptably high.

In 2014 in the UK:*

  • one in every 219 births was a stillbirth
  • one in every 384 babies died within the first 4 weeks of life

*Data from the Office for National Statistics, 2016

Sometimes people think that babies are stillborn because the baby has not developed properly and so could not live. But this is not the case for most stillbirths. In fact, only one in ten stillborn babies has a congenital abnormality (sometimes called a birth defect) that means he or she couldn’t live.

Research is starting to show that the placenta isn’t working properly in many pregnancies ending in stillbirth. There are many reasons why this might happen, and much more research is needed to find the causes.

And there are other causes of stillbirth and neonatal death, such as infections and genetic disorders, that need studying so we can better understand how to identify babies at risk.

Sands supports research to help answer the questions that surround stillbirth and neonatal death. We fund some research directly and support other studies by helping to recruit participants or acting as co-applicants on funding applications.

Please help us support this vital research by donating to Sands. You can donate specifically to the Sands Research Fund if you wish.

Animals in research

Sands supports the Association of Medical Research Charities’ statement on research involving animals.

amrc, association of medical research charities, sands

AMRC membership

We fund research of the highest quality and are proud members of the Association of Medical Research Charities. The AMRC is the national membership organisation of leading medical and health research charities.