A new study from British and Dutch researchers states that some women’s wombs may allow too many embryos — including poor quality ones — to implant, resulting in miscarriage. The study — published this month in the journal PLoS ONE — may provide an explanation for why some women have multiple (defined as three or more) miscarriages.
Twelve women took part in the study — six with normal fertility, and six who had multiple miscarriages. Samples of their wombs were taken, and both high and low quality embryos were placed in between two strips of womb cells. While the womb cells of women with normal fertility only grew toward the high quality embryos, the cells of women with multiple miscarriages grew toward both the high and low quality embryos.
Professor Nick Macklon, the lead researcher and a consultant in obstetrics and gynecology at the Princess Anne Hospital, says that some women, “..may simply be super-fertile, as they allow embryos which would normally not survive to implant. When poorer embryos are allowed to implant, they may last long enough in cases of recurrent miscarriage to give a positive pregnancy test.”
Further testing still needs to be done to prove the theory. If it proves to be accurate, scientists will next need to find out if this is something that women can be tested and treated for. But for now, Professor Macklon says that this finding could change how many women who suffer repeated miscarriages view themselves: He said: “For the first time, women who have suffered with this extremely difficult problem can take some comfort by having a clearer understanding of the causes and realising they are not bad at carrying but perhaps too good. With much better understanding of how the female body selects – or doesn’t select – embryos, we hope to now explore ways we can fix this.”