A new discovery as to what causes women to suffer recurrent miscarriage may lead to treatment options.
Any miscarriage is heartbreaking. I had one 11 years ago and the grief has never left me. I can't even imagine what it's like to experience recurrent miscarriage—defined as having three or more miscarriages in succession—though it's something that affects one in every 100 women trying to conceive.
Now a new breakthrough could signal hope. Scientists have discovered that a lack of stem cells in the womb lining is what's causing all these women to suffer from recurrent miscarriages, and they now plan to start research into treatment.
"We have discovered that the lining of the womb in the recurrent miscarriage patients we studied is already defective before pregnancy," revealed Jan Brosens, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Warwick in England, who led the research team. "I can envisage that we will be able to correct these defects before the patient tries to achieve another pregnancy. In fact, this may be the only way to really prevent miscarriages in these cases."
Your Chance of Miscarriage
The researchers examined tissue samples from the womb lining donated by 183 women and found fewer stem cells in the lining of the wombs of women who had suffered recurrent miscarriages when compared to the study's control group.
They also found that the lack of stem cells sped up the aging of the womb, because the lining has to renew itself each cycle, each miscarriage and successful birth. The aging cells then mount an inflammatory response, which makes it more difficult for the implanted embryo to develop.
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According to study co-author Siobhan Quenby, professor of obstetrics at the University of Warwick Professor, the goal now is to develop new interventions to improve the lining of the womb. "Our focus will be two-fold," she said. "First, we wish to improve the screening of women at risk of recurrent miscarriage by developing new endometrial tests. Second, there are a number of drugs and other interventions, such as endometrial 'scratch', a procedure used to help embryos implant more successfully, that have the potential to increase the stem cell populations in the womb lining."
This is good news for any woman who suffers from this heartbreaking affliction. If you're one of them, click here for advice on how you and your spouse can weather the storm together.