In Australia, approximately 8% of all babies are born preterm (before 37 completed weeks of gestation). That’s about 25,000 babies every year born premature in Australia. (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare - 2011)
Unfortunately, despite the high prevalence of preterm birth, the causes are still largely unknown. Researchers at the Mothers and Babies Research Centre are working to improve the understanding of human pregnancy and what can cause problems to arise, potentially leading to premature birth.
Cystic fibrosis (CF) is the most common genetically-inherited life-shortening chronic illness affecting young Australians today. A baby is born with cystic fibrosis every four days (Source – Better Health Channel). It primarily affects the respiratory system with recurrent infections and the risk for lung damage long term, among other symptoms.
The HMRI Pregnancy and Reproduction program brings together researchers focussed on understanding the environmental and biological processes that affect fertility, reproduction, pregnancy and birth.
With 1 in 6 couples in Australia being infertile, and 1 in 3 women aged over 35 years of age having fertility problems, research into pregnancy and reproduction has never been more in demand. More than 1 per cent of babies are born as a result of assisted reproduction in Australia and this marks a new generation of children who are the product of successful scientific technologies. (Source - ABC Health & Wellbeing Infertility Fact File)