Preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) could help some women who suffer from repeated unexplained miscarriages. Carmen Rubio, co-ordinator of a PGD programme in Spain, told the annual conference of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) last week that her research showed that chromosomal abnormalities could be partly to blame for recurrent miscarriages.
Rubio and her colleagues say that using PGD they had improved pregnancy rates and lowered the risk of miscarriage in women who had suffered successive miscarriages previously. Embryos were screened for chromosomal abnormalities during IVF procedures and only normal embryos were implanted back into the women.
PGD was carried out in 71 couples where the woman had a history of repeated unexplained miscarriages and a control group of 28 fertile women undergoing PGD for sex-linked diseases. The researchers found that the percentage of embryos with chromosomal abnormalities was higher in the embryos from the women who suffered miscarriages. However, after transferring only embryos without chromosomal abnormalities back into the women, similar pregnancy rates were achieved in both groups. In addition, the rate of miscarriage was reduced for the women at risk.
Summing up the results, Rubio said that 'our study shows that, in some couples suffering from repeated unexplained miscarriages, chromosomal abnormalities in the embryo can be the cause of the problem. High pregnancy rates and a decreased risk of further miscarriages can be achieved in these couples by using PGD to select only the normal embryos to be transferred into the uterus'.