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Histopathology – Early Pregnancy Loss

Patient Information

What is histopathology?
Histopathology is the examination of cells and tissues under a microscope. This helps doctors to diagnose problems, and to plan for future treatment.

We will ask for your consent before we examine your pregnancy loss. You should indicate on the consent form whether or not you consent to this examination.

Why do you need to examine my pregnancy loss?
We need to examine your pregnancy loss to exclude a rare condition called Molar Pregnancy (Gestational Trophoblast Disease). This is a condition where pregnancy and placental tissue develop abnormally and this can be the cause for your miscarriage.

There are two types of Molar Pregnancy:

1. A complete mole, where there's a mass of abnormal cells in the womb and no foetus develops or
2. A partial mole, where an abnormal foetus starts to form, but it cannot survive.

Molar Pregnancies can cause the pregnancy hormone in your body to be very high and you may still feel pregnant. If Molar Pregnancy is diagnosed when your pregnancy tissue is examined it allows staff to give you the most appropriate treatment and follow up care in future pregnancies.

You can find more information on molar pregnancy from the Miscarriage Association –

Will I get the results?
Molar pregnancy is a very rare condition and we will only contact you if your tissue shows this condition, or if anything else is found that might affect you.

What happens after the histopathology examination?
If there was a very small amount of tissue, it will all be made into a tissue block(s) for examination, and then stored securely in the Pathology Department. This is to allow us to carry out further tests in the future if you have any further problems. In this case, there would be no material sent for cremation.

If there is any remaining tissue after examination we will take it to the hospital mortuary where we will keep it safely until you decide what you want to do. There are several options:
• The hospital can arrange to have the pregnancy tissue cremated.
• You may wish to make your own arrangements for a private burial or cremation.

What if I change my mind?
If you change your mind and do not wish us to examine your pregnancy loss, you must sign a form that indicates that you understand the possible implications. You need to contact the hospital as soon as possible, as the laboratory examination can take place very soon after it reaches the laboratory.

If you change your mind about the method of burial or cremation you have chosen, please contact the Mortuary on 0141 354 9357 within 7 days.

Further Information
For further information please contact the Early Pregnancy Assessment suite on:

Princess Royal Maternity
Phone Number: 0141 211 5317
8:30am – 4:30pm Sunday - Friday
Closed on Saturday

Queen Elizabeth University Hospital
Phone Number: 0141 201 2331
8:00am – 4:00pm Monday - Friday
8:30am – 4:30pm Saturday
Closed on Sunday

Royal Alexandra Hospital
Phone Number: 0141 314 6953
9:00am – 5:00pm

Vale of Leven
Phone Number: 01389 817 232
9:00am – 5:00pm

Inverclyde Royal Hospital
Phone Number: 01475 504 619
8:00am – 8.00pm

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Last Updated: 22 February 2019