In a remarkable new study, a multi-national team of scientists may have found a break-through in the causes of recurrent miscarriage. The conclusions, published in PLOS One Journal, may surprise you. In a lab study of women's endometrial cells (the cells lining the uterus), the cells from women who had recurrent miscarriages were more likely to grow toward low-quality embryos as well as high-quality embryos. Endometrial cells from women without recurrent miscarriage only grew toward the high-quality embryos.
What does that mean? It indicates that women who have multiple miscarriages may actually get pregnant more easily than other women, or rather, their uterine linings allow implantation of fertilized eggs that may not be suitable for full-term pregnancy. In women with average fertility, these fertilized eggs would mostly likely be shed as part of a normal menstrual cycle.
The implications are remarkable. Perhaps women who experience recurrent miscarriage in fact have a abnormality in their uterine cells. This presents a new avenue for research that could not only could it lead to a diagnostic test, but potentially to a new treatment.
Unfortunately, this was a small scale study involving only 12 women. However, it was an empirical laboratory study, without the usual variables in patient studies. Hopefully, more researchers will be able to repeat this study and confirm the findings.
What's the take away message for readers? If you have a history of recurrent miscarriage without any known cause, it may not be time to give up hope of ever understanding the reasons. Although a treatment is still years away, it may at least by comforting to know there is a real cause at work in many of these cases.