There is a growing trend for Hong Kong women to experience repeated miscarriages, but the condition - linked to late pregnancy, congenital problems and lifestyle - is largely neglected in the city, according to an expert. About one in 100 women worldwide suffer from the condition known as recurrent miscarriage - defined as the loss of three or more consecutive pregnancies. But Professor Li Tin-chiu, a Chinese University obstetrics and gynaecology expert said little research had been carried out locally to find a cure. There were also no statistics on the extent of the problem. Having been an expert in the field in Britain for three decades before joining the university last year, Li said many cases could be treated through surgery, while some required lifestyle changes such as cutting back on coffee consumption and being more relaxed during pregnancy. Li now heads the city's first clinic to treat the condition. It has received 35 patients since it opened last year. "Many of the women who came to us were very upset and under a lot of pressure," Li said. "Some broke down when they told us how hurt they were to lose their babies so many times. "To them, conceiving is not an issue. They can easily get pregnant. But they suffered from spontaneous abortion repeatedly for unknown reasons." In general, hormone factors are to blame in 20 per cent of recurrent miscarriage cases. Another 15 per cent are a result of the abnormal structure of the uterus. Other contributing factors included congenital immunity problems or a genetic problem with one of the potential parents, Li said. Lifestyle is another issue, with Li suggesting would-be mothers cut their coffee intake as large amounts of caffeine can affect hormones. Of the 35 patients Li has seen, most had miscarried three or more times before a specialist referred them to his clinic. The reasons for repeated miscarriages had been identified in 40 per cent of the patients and their conditions had been treated. Li noted the increasing trend in both Britain and Hong Kong towards late marriages and women becoming pregnant into their late 30s, increasing the risk of the condition. He said he hoped to conduct a study on the issue among Hong Kong women to see whether there were any differences between Asian and Western women with the condition. The first eight weeks of pregnancy were usually the most dangerous period for these women and the pregnancy was considered more stable after three months, Li said. "This is why the mother needs a lot of love and care to lessen her worries. The success rate for pregnancy is higher if one has a more relaxed mind," he added.