Some women are affected by recurrent miscarriages: the loss of three or more pregnancies in a row. Now a team of doctors may have found an explanation for this phenomenon.
The condition seems to be caused by “super-fertility.” The wombs of some women are too good at letting embryos implant, even those of poor quality which should be rejected. The resulting pregnancies would then fail.
A team of doctors from England and the Netherlands took cell samples from the wombs of six women who had normal fertility and six who had suffered recurrent miscarriages.
They discovered that – in a simulated setting – the womb cells of normally fertile women were selective, and only grew towards high-quality embryos. However, the cells of women who had recurrent miscarriages started to grow towards both low- and high-quality embryos.
“Many affected women feel guilty that they are simply rejecting their pregnancy,” said researcher Nick Macklon, when interviewed by BBC News.
“But we have discovered it may not be because they cannot carry, [but] it is because they may simply be super-fertile, as they allow embryos which would normally not survive to implant.”
Further research is needed to discover whether this condition could be tested for in women and whether their receptiveness to embryos could be altered.
Source: BBC News
Weimar CH, Kavelaars A, Brosens JJ, Gellersen B, de Vreeden-Elbertse JM, Heijnen CJ, & Macklon NS (2012). Endometrial Stromal Cells of Women with Recurrent Miscarriage Fail to Discriminate between High- and Low-Quality Human Embryos. PloS one, 7 (7) PMID: 22848492