Although most couples are blissfully unaware of the statistics surrounding miscarriage, pregnancy loss is in fact quite common, with 10-25% of recognized pregnancies ending in miscarriage. If you have suffered a pregnancy loss or are in the process of having a miscarriage, you may be wondering what caused the loss and worry about whether it’ll happen again. This short article aims to answer the next questions:

What causes miscarriage?
How common is pregnancy loss?
Which kind of genetic testing is available for miscarriage tissue?
How do chromosome testing help?
Causes of Miscarriage

There are many different explanations why miscarriage occurs, but the most typical cause for first trimester miscarriage is really a chromosome abnormality. Chromosome abnormalities – extra or missing whole chromosomes, also known as “aneuploidy” – occur due to a mis-division of the chromosomes in the egg or sperm involved with a conception. Typically, humans have 46 chromosomes which come in 23 pairs (22 pairs numbered from 1 to 22 and then the sex chromosomes, X and Y). For a baby to develop normally it is necessary that it have the right quantity of chromosome material; missing or extra material at the time of conception or within an embryo or fetus can cause a female to either not become pregnant, miscarry, or have a baby with a chromosome syndrome such as for example Down syndrome.

Over 50% of most first trimester miscarriages are caused by chromosome abnormalities. This number may be closer to 75% or higher for women aged 35 years and over who’ve experienced recurrent pregnancy loss. Overall, the rate of chromosome abnormalities and the rate of miscarriage both increase with maternal age, with a steep upsurge in women older than 35.

Pregnancy Loss – How Common could it be?

Miscarriage is far more common than most people think. Up to one in every four recognized pregnancies is lost in first trimester miscarriage. The opportunity of having a miscarriage also increases as a mother ages.

Most women who experience a miscarriage go on to get a healthy pregnancy and never miscarry again. However, some women seem to be more susceptible to miscarriage than others. About five percent of fertile couples will experience several miscarriages.

Of note, the rate of miscarriage seems to be increasing. One reason for this can be awareness – more women know they are having a miscarriage because home pregnancy tests have improved early pregnancy detection rates over the past decade, whereas before the miscarriage would have appeared to be just an unusual period. Another reason may be that more women are conceiving at older ages.

Types of Genetic Testing Ideal for Miscarriages

Genetic testing actually refers to many types of testing that you can do on the DNA in a cell. For miscarriage tissue, also called products of conception (POC), probably the most useful type of test to perform is really a chromosome analysis. A chromosome analysis (also known as chromosome testing) can examine all 23 pairs of chromosomes for the presence of extra or missing chromosome material (aneuploidy). Because so many miscarriages are caused by aneuploidy, chromosome analysis on the miscarriage tissue could identify the reason for the pregnancy loss.

The most common method of chromosome analysis is called karyotyping. Newer methods include advanced technologies such as microarrays.

Karyotyping analyzes all 23 pairs of chromosome but requires cells from the miscarriage tissue to first be grown in the laboratory, an activity called “cell culture”. For this reason requirement, tissue that is passed at home is often unable to be tested with this particular method. About 20% or even more of miscarriage samples fail to grow and thus no email address details are available. Additionally, karyotyping struggles to tell the difference between cells from mom (maternal cells) and cells from the fetus. If a normal female result is found, it may be the correct result for the fetus or it can be maternal cell contamination (MCC) where the result actually originates from testing the mother’s cells within the pregnancy tissue rather than the fetal cells. MCC seems to occur in about 30% or even more of the samples tested by traditional karyotype. Results from karyotyping usually take a few weeks to months another from the laboratory.

Microarray testing is a new kind of genetic testing done on miscarriage samples; the two most common types of microarray testing are array CGH (comparative genomic hybridization) and chromosome SNP (single-nucleotide polymorphism) microarray. Microarray testing can be able to test all 23 pairs of chromosomes for aneuploidy, but will not require cell culture. Therefore, you are more prone to receive results and the results are usually returned faster when microarray testing can be used. pregnancy loss Additionally, some laboratories are collecting an example of the mother’s blood simultaneously the miscarriage tissue is sent to enable immediate detection of maternal cell contamination (MCC).

Chromosome Testing – How can it help?

In case a chromosome abnormality is identified, the type of abnormality found could be assessed to help answer fully the question: “Will this happen to me again?”. More often than not, chromosome abnormalities in an embryo or fetus aren’t inherited and have a low chance to occur in future pregnancies. Sometimes, a particular chromosome finding in a miscarriage alerts your physician to do further studies to research the possibility of an underlying genetic or chromosome problem in your family that predisposes you to have miscarriages.

Furthermore, if a chromosome abnormality is identified it can prevent the dependence on other, sometimes quite costly, studies your physician might consider to investigate the cause of the miscarriage.

Lastly, knowing the reason behind a pregnancy loss can help a couple of start the emotional healing up process, moving past the question of “Why did this eventually me?”.

Chromosome testing could be especially important for patients with repeated miscarriages, as it can either give clues to an underlying chromosomal cause for the miscarriages or rule out chromosome errors as the reason behind the miscarriages and allow their doctor to pursue other types of testing. For couples with multiple miscarriages determined to have a chromosomal cause, in vitro fertilization (IVF) with preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) testing may be able to help increase their chances of having an effective healthy pregnancy.