A miscarriage is a heartbreaking, devastating experience, and one that many women and couples will endure. When you find out you're pregnant, and start to get excited and share the news and start to imagine yourself becoming a parent, only to lose the pregnancy ... it's one of the most difficult things you can go through. Medical researchers and doctors are constantly trying to find reasons behind miscarriages, so that we may find ways to prevent them. There's really no rhyme or reason most of the time - approximately 10-15% of pregnancies end in miscarriage, and the number is likely higher when you factor in unreported or missed miscarriages. A lot of women go on to have completely healthy pregnancies following a miscarriage. But some couples may experience something called recurrent pregnancy loss, where they have several miscarriages in a row. There can be many different factors that contribute to recurring pregnancy loss, like chromosomal abnormalities, uterine problems, and even infections. Up until now, the focus on finding a cause of miscarriages has been on the woman. But a new study suggests that there may be another factor, one that has to do with the male.
The study, published in the Men's Health Issue of AACC's Clinical Chemistry journal, looked at the male partner's reproductive health in couples who have experienced recurrent pregnancy loss. Women are regularly screened when they have two or more miscarriages in a row, but the male partner is rarely screened. However, researchers wanted to see if there was a connection between recurrent pregnancy loss and male reproductive health. They screened a group of male partners of women who have experienced recurrent pregnancy loss and a group of healthy males. They discovered that in the group whose partners experiences recurrent pregnancy loss, testosterone levels were 15% lower, and estradiol levels were 16% lower. The recurrent pregnancy loss group also had lower sperm motility.
Researchers concluded, based on their findings, that male partners of women who experience recurrent pregnancy loss may have impaired reproductive function, and may contribute to the pregnancy loss. Further research is definitely needed, but it's a step in the right direction for screening both men and women when it comes to recurrent pregnancy loss.