One of the toughest fertility issues to cope with is spontaneous pregnancy loss. If you have experienced one, you are not alone. Doctors are familiar with this occurrence, seeing up to 15% of pregnancies ending in a misscarriage. This can be especially hard on prospective parents, particularly if more than one occurs.
Recurrent pregnancy loss (RPL) is where you have three pregnancy losses in a row occurring before 20 weeks from your last menstrual period. Typically, the cause is genetic or chromosomal. It can also happen when there are abnormalities or even just occur randomly. There could be problems with the egg, sperm or embryo, and anywhere from 12-15 percent of documented pregnancies wind up in miscarriage.
But here’s the thing; when it comes to pregnancies that are not clinically recognized, it’s estimated that anywhere from 30-60% of all pregnancies end in the first 12 weeks. While this number appears high, this takes into account where half of the time you may not even know that you were pregnant.
So, how does pregnancy loss happen? It’s estimated that up to 70 percent of early pregnancy losses arise because of genetics, or problems with the chromosome. Chromosomal defects, having an extra chromosome, or even missing one can all lead to a pregnancy loss.
There are a variety of factors, including a problem in the uterus that might cause a miscarriage. If your uterus isn’t shaped normally, or you have inflammation or a reduced blood supply. You may have a poor immune system, or have a condition that keeps your blood from clotting normally. Hormonal imbalances can contribute to miscarriage, as can your age. Advanced maternal age can lead to lower egg quality which can affect the chromosome. Both parents can have genetic issues, affecting the embryo.
When it comes to treating patients for recurrent pregnancy loss, there is help available:
-If your uterus has an abnormality, such as fibroids or a septum, you may have surgery to help treat the issue.
-If you have problems with diabetes or the thyroid, these conditions can be managed with medication.
-If you have an autoimmune disorder called antiphospholipid syndrome – developing blood clots in the arteries and veins that can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, and preterm delivery – can be treated with medications to lower blood clot formation in the body.
-If you or your partner have known genetic concerns or have experienced multiple losses, preimplantation genetic testing can be done on the day 5 embryos during an in vitro fertilization cycle and genetic information can be gathered before an embryo transfer takes place. Women particularly above 38 yrs old, have seen higher pregnancy rates and lower miscarriage rates by utilizing genetic testing to screen for aneuploidy (abnormal number of chromosomes).
The good news is, it is not believed that environmental factors lead to pregnancy loss. If you have struggled with recurrent pregnancy loss, we encourage you to reach out to Utah Fertility Center by calling 801-785-5100 today. We have convenient locations in Pleasant Grove, Murray, Ogden, and St. George, Utah.