Role of the sperm, oocyte, and embryo in recurrent pregnancy loss

Disorders of the spermatozoa, oocyte, and embryo may all contribute to recurrent pregnancy loss.

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VOLUME 115, ISSUE 3, P533-537, MARCH 01, 2021


Amber M. Klimczak, M.D., Darshan P. Patel, M.D., James M. Hotaling, M.D., M.S., Richard T. Scott Jr., M.D. 


Disorders affecting the sperm, oocyte, or embryo may cause a significant fraction of spontaneous miscarriages and cases of recurrent pregnancy loss (RPL). Altered chromosomal integrity of sperm and oocytes, which is highly dependent of the age of the mother, represents a major cause of miscarriage and in turn RPL. Avoiding transfers of abnormal embryos is possible with preimplantation genetic testing for aneuploidies. Chromosomal anomalies may also be caused by structural rearrangements of one or several chromosomes in either parents, a finding encountered in 12% of couples with RPL, including in those who have had one or several healthy babies. More than 40% of these chromosomal rearrangements are identifiable on regular karyotypes. When abnormal findings are made, preimplantation genetic testing for monogenic disorders allows selection of disease-free embryos. Finally, asymmetric inactivation of the X chromosome has been found more commonly in women with RPL, but no specific treatment is currently available.

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Fertility and Sterility

Editorial Office, American Society for Reproductive Medicine

Fertility and Sterility® is an international journal for obstetricians, gynecologists, reproductive endocrinologists, urologists, basic scientists and others who treat and investigate problems of infertility and human reproductive disorders.