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. In case you have suffered a pregnancy loss or are in the process of having a miscarriage, you may well be wondering what caused the loss and worry about whether it will happen again. This article aims to answer the following questions:

What causes miscarriage?
How common is pregnancy loss?
What sort of genetic testing can be acquired for miscarriage tissue?
infant loss How do chromosome testing help?
Causes of Miscarriage

There are many different explanations why miscarriage occurs, but the most common cause for first trimester miscarriage is a chromosome abnormality. Chromosome abnormalities – extra or missing whole chromosomes, also called “aneuploidy” – occur due to a mis-division of the chromosomes in the egg or sperm involved with a conception. Typically, humans have 46 chromosomes that come in 23 pairs (22 pairs numbered from 1 to 22 and the sex chromosomes, X and Y). For a child to develop normally it is essential that it have the right level 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 child with a chromosome syndrome such as Down syndrome.

Over 50% of most first trimester miscarriages are due to 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 increase in women older than 35.

Pregnancy Loss – How Common could it be?

Miscarriage is far more common than a lot of 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.

Nearly all women who experience a miscarriage continue to possess a healthy pregnancy rather than 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 may be awareness – more women know they’re having a miscarriage because home pregnancy tests have improved early pregnancy detection rates in the last decade, whereas previously the miscarriage would have appeared to be just a unique period. Another reason may be that more women are conceiving at older ages.

Types of Genetic Testing Ideal for Miscarriages

Genetic testing actually identifies many types of testing that you can do on the DNA in a cell. For miscarriage tissue, also known as products of conception (POC), the most useful type of test to execute is 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 due to aneuploidy, chromosome analysis on the miscarriage tissue can often identify the reason behind the pregnancy loss.

The most common method of chromosome analysis is called 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 this reason requirement, tissue that’s 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 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 correct result for the fetus or it might be maternal cell contamination (MCC) in which the result actually originates from testing the mother’s cells within the pregnancy tissue instead of the fetal cells. MCC appears 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 really a new kind of genetic testing done on miscarriage samples; both most common forms 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’re more likely to receive results and the results are usually returned faster when microarray testing is used. Additionally, some laboratories are collecting an example of the mother’s blood as well the miscarriage tissue is delivered to enable immediate detection of maternal cell contamination (MCC).

Chromosome Testing – How do it help?

If a chromosome abnormality is identified, the sort of abnormality found could be assessed to help answer fully the question: “Will this eventually me again?”. Most of the time, chromosome abnormalities within an embryo or fetus aren’t inherited and have a minimal chance to occur in future pregnancies. Sometimes, a particular chromosome finding in a miscarriage alerts your physician to do further studies to investigate the possibility of an underlying genetic or chromosome problem in your loved ones that predisposes one to have miscarriages.

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

Lastly, knowing the explanation for a pregnancy loss might help a couple of start the emotional healing process, moving past the question of “Why did this happen to 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 eliminate chromosome errors as the reason behind 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 likelihood of having a successful healthy pregnancy.