According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), recurrent pregnancy loss is a disease, distinct from infertility. It is defined by two or more failed pregnancies before 20 weeks. Did you know that 25% of all recognized pregnancies result in miscarriage? While this is true, less than 5% of women will experience two consecutive miscarriages, and only 1% will experience three or more. Couples experiencing recurrent pregnancy loss may benefit from a thorough medical evaluation.
There are many causes known to contribute to loss of pregnancy.
- Age: After age 40, more than one-third of all pregnancies end in miscarriage. Declining quality of eggs plays a major factor.
- Genetic/Chromosomal causes: When an embryo receives too much or too little genetic material, miscarriage can result. Many early miscarriages are due to the random occurrence of a chromosomal abnormality in the embryo. (This might be as high as 60% of early miscarriages.)
- Hormonal or Metabolic Abnormalities: It has been suggested that low progesterone levels may cause repeated miscarriages. Poorly controlled diabetes also increases the risk of miscarriage. Women who have insulin resistance and many who have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) also have higher rates of miscarriage.
- Abnormalities of the Uterus: There are congenital abnormalities of the uterus which may interfere with pregnancy. These include uterus septum and a double uterus. Uterine fibroids and scar tissue are “acquired” abnormalities which also can contribute to miscarriage. There are many diagnostic screening tests, and many of these abnormalities can be surgically corrected.
- Male Factor: While it is not known for certain how often sperm defects contribute to recurrent miscarriage, evidence does suggest that compromised sperm DNA can affect the development of the embryo and possibly increase miscarriage risk.
- Unexplained: For 50-75% of couples with recurrent pregnancy losses, there is no found explanation. This might be the most frustrating situation of all. Psychological support is recommended for any couples struggling with recurrent pregnancy loss as “unexplained” loss can be confusing and difficult to understand.
If you have been having challenges sustaining a healthy pregnancy, please reach out to us here at RRC. We’re here to help Kansas City residents start the family they’ve always desired.