Recurrent pregnancy or miscarriage has been officially defined as the loss of three or more pregnancies consecutively. More recently, the definition has been redefined to be only two consecutive miscarriages. The number of miscarriages in the definition may vary worldwide. The definition of a pregnancy loss, however, is relatively universal; the clinically recognized and defined pregnancy terminated involuntarily before 20 weeks of pregnancy. The term “clinically recognized” refers to a pregnancy whereby the fetus has been recognized by ultrasound or related technology or pregnancy tissue was identified post pregnancy.
The majorities of these pregnancy losses are random and are as a result of chromosomal or genetic abnormalities. These mentioned abnormalities may be as a result of eggs, the sperm or even the embryo. These random terminations account for only 12-15% of all clinically recognized pregnancies. A larger number is the 30-60 percent of conceptions that are ended within the first 12 weeks. This means that over half of the time, the woman won’t even have realized she was pregnant. The chance of actual miscarriage is less than 50%, and increases with each miscarriage or failed pregnancy. Age is also correlated with miscarriage due to a decrease in the quality of the egg and chromosomal abnormalities. It may also be as a result of genetic issues with the mother and/or father. Hormone abnormalities, for example, impact pregnancy loss, or diabetes. Other, external factors such as stress or environment are less and not proven to be related to pregnancy loss.
To test women who face recurrent pregnancy loss, a specialist will first record any and all medical issues and history of the mother and make a detailed report and perform a detailed examination. Tests such as karyotype analysis may be done upon request of the doctor in order to find any abnormalities in either parent that could or may have been a cause of recurrent pregnancy loss. This test is done of all other, more standard and regular tests fail to yield results.