Although most couples are blissfully unaware of the statistics surrounding miscarriage, pregnancy loss is actually quite common, with 10-25% of recognized pregnancies ending in miscarriage. When you have suffered a pregnancy loss or are currently in the process of having a miscarriage, you could be wondering what caused the loss and worry about whether it’ll happen again. This 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 common cause for first trimester miscarriage is really a chromosome abnormality. Chromosome abnormalities – extra or missing whole chromosomes, also known as “aneuploidy” – occur because of 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 crucial that it have exactly the right quantity of chromosome material; missing or extra material at the time of conception or within an embryo or fetus could cause a woman to either not become pregnant, miscarry, or have a child with a chromosome syndrome such as 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 increase 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 having a miscarriage also increases as a mother ages.

Nearly all women who experience a miscarriage continue to possess a healthy pregnancy and never miscarry again. However, some women appear to be more susceptible 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 are 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 a unique period. Another reason may be that more women are conceiving at older ages.

Types of Genetic Testing Helpful for Miscarriages

Genetic testing actually refers to many different 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 a chromosome analysis. A chromosome analysis (also known as chromosome testing) can examine all 23 pairs of chromosomes for the current presence of extra or missing chromosome material (aneuploidy). Because so many miscarriages are caused by aneuploidy, chromosome analysis on the miscarriage tissue can often identify the reason for the pregnancy loss.

The most common approach to chromosome analysis is named karyotyping. Newer methods include advanced technologies such as for example 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 that reason requirement, tissue that’s passed at home is often unable to be tested with this particular method. About 20% or more of miscarriage samples neglect to grow and thus no email address details are available. Additionally, karyotyping is unable to tell the difference between cells from mom (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 may be maternal cell contamination (MCC) in which the result actually comes from testing the mother’s cells within the pregnancy tissue rather than the fetal cells. pregnancy loss MCC appears to occur in about 30% or even more of the samples tested by traditional karyotype. Results from karyotyping usually have 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 is also in a position to test all 23 pairs of chromosomes for aneuploidy, but does not require cell culture. Therefore, you are more prone to receive results and the results are typically returned faster when microarray testing is used. 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 do it help?

In case a chromosome abnormality is identified, the type of abnormality found can be assessed to help answer fully the question: “Will this eventually me again?”. Quite often, chromosome abnormalities within an embryo or fetus aren’t 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 loved ones that predisposes you to have miscarriages.

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

Lastly, knowing the reason for a pregnancy loss might 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 could either give clues to an underlying chromosomal cause for the miscarriages or eliminate chromosome errors as the reason for the miscarriages and allow their doctor to pursue other types of testing. For couples with multiple miscarriages determined to truly have a chromosomal cause, in vitro fertilization (IVF) with preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) testing may be able to help increase their chances of having a successful healthy pregnancy.