Fetal Medicine Unit
Most pregnancies are normal without any complications. However,
sometimes a mother or her unborn baby may require specialised care
for various reasons. If the unborn baby has abnormalities such as
gastroschisis, or the mother has medical conditions that increases
risk to their babies such as red cell antibodies or viral
infections, they may require specialised care in the Fetal Medicine
The Fetal Medicine Unit (FMU) at Saint Mary's Hospital is made
up of highly experienced fetal medicine consultants and specialist
midwives. In addition there are other specialist doctors such as
neonatologists, geneticists, paediatric surgeons, fetal
cardiologists and neurosurgeons who offer counselling and will take
over the care of babies with abnormalities after they are born.
There are also fetal medicine subspecialty trainees and sometimes
visiting medical students, midwives and neonatal nurses.
The Fetal Medicine Unit serves a maternity population of 50,000
within the North West Region and receives over 1,000 referrals per
year. The unit is one of 12 fetal medicine centres across
England that is supported by Specialist Service Commissioning as of
There are regular joint and separate clinics with consultant and
nurse specialist colleagues from paediatric surgery, paediatric
neurosurgery, paediatric nephrology, paediatric cardiology,
paediatric urology, clinical genetics, neonatology and intensive
care. Almost all of these specialties are co-located at the Central
Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust site, either
in Saint Mary's Hospital or at the Royal Manchester Children's
Hospital. This means that mothers and their babies are not
separated whilst their babies receive the required care after
Crucially, the FMU service also maintains communication with the
referring clinicians and specialities.
In the Fetal Medicine Unit we see patients for various reasons
and whilst under our care we offer several services including high
risk screening, scanning, prenatal diagnosis and treatments.
Our staff include:
- Dr Philip Bullen, Consultant
- Dr Clare Tower, Consultant
- Dr Edward Johnstone, Consultant
- Dr Joanna Gillham, Consultant
- Dr Koon Loong Chan, Consultant
- Dr Rebekah Samangaya, Consultant
- Dr Sarah Vause, Consultant
- Dr Gillian Stephen, Consultant
- Dr Chibuike Iruloh, Consultant
- Caroline Wellings, Specialist Midwife
- Lynn Kirby, Specialist Midwife
- Specialist staff from Paediatrics, Cardiology, Urology,
Genetics, Neonatology, Neonatal Surgery, Neurosurgery, ICU and
Royal Manchester Childrens Hospital.
Our clinics are held in the FMU Department, which is housed
within Radiology, Ground Floor, Saint Mary's Hospital.
Our telephone number (0161) 276 6385.
We are open daily from Monday to Friday, 9.00 am-5.00 pm, but
are closed at weekends and Bank Holidays. There is a secure answer
machine on which you can leave your name and telephone number and
we will get back to you as soon as possible.
Unfortunately we are unlikely to be able to give any information
about the potential problem affecting your baby until we have
scanned you. We accept referrals from other obstetrics and
gynaecology units and from the genetics department. We do not
Here are a few helpful links you may find suitable for
Results and Choices (ARC) - Provides information and help
relating to antenatal screening tests and their consequences
childrenofjannah.com/ - Support for Muslim
bereaved parents and families following the death of a child
www.uk-sands.org - (Stillbirth and neonatal
death charity) - provides information and support for anyone
affected by the death of a baby
www.cafamily.org.uk/ - (Contact a family) -
National organisation providing support for families with disabled
Further information and resources:
We recommend for every patient to read our general fetal
medicine unit leaflet prior to their appointment:
We also have some information leaflets relating to specific
conditions on our patient
information page (Specialist leaflet section).
The IONA Study
This study aims to develop the Iona test, a scientific technique
to allow early and safer ('non-invasive') diagnosis of unborn
babies with Down's Syndrome (and other chromosomal abnormalities)
from a simple maternal blood test. Currently, the only method
to make an absolute diagnosis of Down's Syndrome involves either
taking a biopsy from the placenta (chorion villus sampling) or
obtaining a sample of amniotic fluid from around the baby
(amniocentesis). Both of these tests carry the potential risk
of miscarriage (1-2% for chorion villus sampling, 0.5-1% for
amniocentesis). Developing a test like the Iona test, that
identifies Down's Syndrome/chromosomal abnormality from maternal
blood, would avoid having to perform as many
amniocentesis/chorionic villus sampling tests in the future.
The RAPID Study
This study aims to develop Non Invasive Prenatal testing for a
much wider group of genetic disorders.
A research midwife will approach you at your FMU appointment to
discuss one or other of the studies. If you consent, you will be
asked for a blood sample and permission to access the result of any
invasive test. All research is voluntary and confidential.
For more information on our research please click on the links
Research participant information sheet IONA
Research participant information sheet RAPID