Causes & Treatment

Your Guide to Infertility and Miscarriage from a Fertility Specialist

Eloise Edington  |   25 Apr 2022

For many in our fertility community, miscarriage is a heartbreaking reality when trying to get pregnant.

And understandably, those experiencing miscarriage (whether one or recurrent) want to understand what causes miscarriage and how to prevent it from happening again.

So we’ve reached out to our FHH partners at Harley Street Fertility Clinic to share a fertility specialist’s guide to miscarriage. Harley Street Fertility Clinic (visit their profile here and website here) is an independent fertility clinic in Marylebone, London, with one of the highest IVF success rates in the capital. Book an appointment to take the next step in your fertility treatment.

Read on as Dr Venkat (Director at Harley Street Fertility Clinic) explains what might cause a miscarriage and the investigations to have at your fertility clinic that may diagnose the reason for miscarriage.

Experiencing a miscarriage can be one of the most painful things for a solo parent or couple to endure. Often, many questions swell around a patient’s head, wondering if there was anything they could have done to prevent it. The truth is simple: no!

Most women who suffer a miscarriage will go on to have a healthy, viable pregnancy within six months. However, for some, this is not always the case. Studies have shown that miscarriage does not cause infertility, but if you have had a miscarriage, your chances of having another one will sadly rise.

What are the triggers of miscarriage?

Miscarriage is devastating when it happens but it’s important not to blame yourself. It can be helpful to understand possible causes as a way to investigate any underlying fertility problems, not to assign fault.

“There is not a single factor that causes miscarriage but many possibilities,” says Dr Venkat. “The most common factors leading to miscarriages are chromosomal abnormalities in the embryo and implantation failure due to the uterine environment.”

What investigations can I have to determine the cause of miscarriage?

After a miscarriage, intended parents will want to speak with their fertility specialist to work out the potential cause of the miscarriage with a view to reducing the chances of recurrent miscarriage. Therefore, the next step should be to undergo various fertility tests.

At HSFC, fertility specialists recommend thorough investigations to attempt to diagnose the underlying issue.

“I would recommend investigating the main factors that can cause miscarriage: genetic testing of embryos (PGT-A), hysteroscopy to check the uterine cavity, endometrial analysis (EndomeTRIO) and immune testing,” suggests Dr Venkat.

Investigating these potential areas of concern allows us to modify the plan to increase the chances of a successful pregnancy in the next cycle of fertility treatment:

  • PGT-A allows us to exclude the possibility of transferring a chromosomally abnormal embryo into the uterus. Only chromosomally normal embryos will lead to a successful pregnancy.
  • Hysteroscopy, a procedure that involves a camera inserted into the uterine cavity, allows us to check for polyps, scar tissue, or other uterine abnormalities. These can be treated at the same time as the investigative surgery as the presence of any pathology in the uterus can cause miscarriage.
  • Endometrial analysis by the EndomeTRIO allows us to check various possible reasons for miscarriage:
    1. When the endometrium is receptive to an embryo (using the ERA test)
    2. Whether there is a healthy population of bacteria in the uterus (via the EMMA test)
    3. Whether there are any pathogenic bacteria present in the uterus (discovered by the ALICE test)

If the embryo is not transferred at the right time in a woman’s cycle (or there is not a healthy population of bacteria in her uterus), this can result in miscarriage or failure of implantation.

Ensuring the immune system can adapt well to support a pregnancy is important and your fertility specialist might suggest testing your immune functioning.

  • Immunology testing investigates the activity levels of various relevant factors in the immune system that are required for implantation and pregnancy.

Having these tests at your fertility clinic can help you and your fertility specialist to alter medication, lifestyle or treatment times as appropriate to boost the chances of success in subsequent fertility treatment.

Watch the video above to meet Dr Venkat and Harley Street Fertility Clinic’s General Manager. Explore the state-of-the-art laboratories and learn more about the holistic caring approach adopted by HSFC’s fertility specialists.

To find out more about the fertility treatments Harley Street Fertility Clinic can offer you, please contact us today.

Learn more about infertility after a miscarriage with Dr Venkat and FHH Founder (Eloise): 6 PM, Tuesday 24th May 2022 via FHH Instagram.

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