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University Hospitals Southampton Foundation Trust

Southampton research sheds light on recurrent miscarriages

RESEARCH: A study carried out by specialists in Southampton has found that women who suffer recurrent miscarriages may actually be “super fertile”.

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Nick Macklon, a consultant in obstetrics and gynaecology at Princess Anne Hospital has concluded the repeat miscarriages can occur when a woman’s uterus allows an embryo to implant which would not normally have survived.

Professor Macklon said: “We have discovered it may not be because they cannot carry; it is because they may simply be super-fertile, as they allow embryos which would normally not survive to implant.’’

The study compared cells from the lining of the wombs of women who have suffered recurrent miscarriage and those with normal fertility.

Researchers found that, among women with recurrent miscarriages, embryos were more likely to be implanted regardless of their quality, while those from normally fertile women were selective.

Professor Macklon said: “Only around 30 per cent of natural conceptions makes it to a baby and the rest are lost early in pregnancy. Mercifully, most women remain unaware of these losses because they happen before they miss their period,” he explained.

“When poorer embryos are allowed to implant, they may last long enough in cases of recurrent miscarriage to give a positive pregnancy test.”

The research was published in journal PLoS ONE.

Prof Mackon added: “With much better understanding of how the female body selects – or doesn’t select – embryos, we hope to now explore ways we can fix this.”

Readers' comments (1)

  • are these 'poorer' embyros likely to be able to continue through pregnancy in some cases and result in an increased abnormality rate in 'super' fertile women?

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