Miscarriages 'predicted' by restricted embryo growth
There are hopes that a new tool which is able to predict miscarriages could be developed after scientists found the events are linked to early embryo growth.
During a study carried out at the University of Nottingham in the UK it was revealed embryos that had restricted growth during the early stages of pregnancy were involved in almost 80 percent of single baby miscarriages.
To back up these findings, the researchers also discovered that in over 98 percent of successful single baby pregnancies there was no evidence of restricted embryo growth.
The research has now been praised by fertility experts who have said it has enhanced their understanding of why miscarriages occur.
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As part of the investigations the scientists tracked the growth of over 500 embryos – 247 single baby embryos and 264 twin embryos.
To ensure accuracy, the scientists studied pregnancies that resulted from IVF treatment as it meant they knew their exact gestational age.
During the first trimester of pregnancy an ultrasound was used to measure the length of the embryo and the scientists continued to monitor its progress.
Although they found restricted growth of embryos during the first 12 weeks of pregnancies was an indicator of miscarriage risk later on in the cycle, this was only the case in single baby pregnancies.
Only 28 percent of twin embryo miscarriages were thought to be the result of restricted growth.
The research was led by Dr Shyamaly Sur who is now hoping the information could be used in the future to identify pregnancies that have a miscarriage risk.
He said: “There are various reasons why some embryos show restricted growth in the early stages of pregnancy.
“It could be down to an abnormality in the foetus or something in the environment of the womb.
“More research is now needed to investigate the relationship between growth and the underlying causes of miscarriage in more detail,” he continued.
“We are focussing on how blood flow to the womb lining and embryo quality influence conception rates and subsequent miscarriage.”
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