Although most couples are blissfully unacquainted with the statistics surrounding miscarriage, pregnancy loss is really quite common, with 10-25% of recognized pregnancies ending in miscarriage. For those who have suffered a pregnancy loss or are currently in the process of having a miscarriage, you may be wondering what caused the loss and worry about whether it will happen again. This short article aims to answer the following questions:

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

There are many different reasons 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 called “aneuploidy” – occur because of a mis-division of the chromosomes in the egg or sperm involved in 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 crucial that it have the right level of chromosome material; missing or extra material at the time of conception or in an embryo or fetus can cause a woman to either not become pregnant, miscarry, or have a child with a chromosome syndrome such as for example Down syndrome.

Over 50% of all first trimester miscarriages are due to chromosome abnormalities. This number could be closer to 75% or higher for women aged 35 years and over who have 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 is it?

Miscarriage is far more common than a lot of people think. Up to one atlanta divorce attorneys four recognized pregnancies is lost in first trimester miscarriage. The chance of experiencing a miscarriage also increases as a mother ages.

Most women who experience a miscarriage continue to possess a healthy pregnancy rather than miscarry again. However, some women seem to be more prone to miscarriage than others. About five percent of fertile couples will experience several miscarriages.

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

Types of Genetic Testing Helpful for Miscarriages

Genetic testing actually identifies many different types of testing that can be done on the DNA in a cell. For miscarriage tissue, also called products of conception (POC), the most useful type of test to perform is a chromosome analysis. A chromosome analysis (also called 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 approach to 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”. Due to this requirement, tissue that’s passed at home is frequently unable to be tested with this method. About 20% or even more of miscarriage samples fail to grow and thus no results are available. Additionally, karyotyping is unable to tell the difference between cells from the mother (maternal cells) and cells from the fetus. If a normal female result is available, it may be the right result for the fetus or it can be maternal cell contamination (MCC) where the result actually comes from testing the mother’s cells within the pregnancy tissue instead of the fetal cells. MCC appears to occur in about 30% or more of the samples tested by traditional karyotype. stillbirth Results from karyotyping usually take a few weeks to months another from the laboratory.

Microarray testing is really a new type of genetic testing done on miscarriage samples; the two most common forms of microarray testing are array CGH (comparative genomic hybridization) and chromosome SNP (single-nucleotide polymorphism) microarray. Microarray testing can be in a position to test all 23 pairs of chromosomes for aneuploidy, but will not require cell culture. Therefore, you are more likely to receive results and the outcomes are usually returned faster when microarray testing can be used. Additionally, some laboratories are collecting an example of the mother’s blood as well 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 sort of abnormality found can be assessed to help answer the question: “Will this happen to me again?”. Most of the time, chromosome abnormalities in an embryo or fetus are not inherited and have a minimal chance to occur in future pregnancies. Sometimes, a specific chromosome finding in a miscarriage alerts your doctor to do further studies to investigate the possibility of an underlying genetic or chromosome problem in your family that predisposes one to have miscarriages.

Furthermore, in case a chromosome abnormality is identified it could prevent the need for other, sometimes quite costly, studies your physician might consider to investigate the reason for the miscarriage.

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

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