Recurrent Pregnancy Loss

Recurrent Pregnancy Loss

If you have experienced 2 or more miscarriages, or have a family history of multiple miscarriages, you may be referred to a genetic counselor to discuss additional testing options.

What is recurrent pregnancy loss?

Recurrent pregnancy loss (RPL) is defined as two or more pregnancy losses before 20 weeks of gestation. Recognized pregnancy loss occurs in about 15-25% of pregnancies, and up to 5% of people experience 2 consecutive losses. With thorough evaluation, a cause for RPL may be found in up to 50% of cases.

What causes RPL?

Possible causes for RPL include:

  • Inherited chromosome abnormalities
  • Uterine abnormalities
  • Autoimmune disorders or clotting issues
  • Other non-genetic factors

Genetic causes of RPL

In approximately 5% of couples experiencing RPL, a chromosomal translocation will be identified in one partner. A translocation means that there is an unusual arrangement of the chromosomes. Some translocations can be inherited, while others can be new in a pregnancy.

Click here to learn more about chromosomes and translocations:

How do I find out if I carry a translocation?

Genetic testing can be done to find out whether a person carries a translocation. This is a blood test called chromosome analysis or karyotype, where cells from the blood are examined in a laboratory to look at the number and arrangement of the chromosomes.

If the chromosome analysis is positive: Carrying a balanced translocation or other chromosome abnormality increases the risk for miscarriage, a liveborn with a unbalanced translocation or other chromosome condition, and infertility in male carriers. There may be more specific risk information available depending on the chromosome(s) involved.

If the chromosome analysis is negative: A chromosome disorder would not be expected to affect your odds of a successful pregnancy in the future. Some families can benefit from a consultation with a Maternal Fetal Medicine (MFM) specialist or a reproductive endocrinologist.

Where can I learn more about genetic testing for RPL?

You can visit these helpful websites or you can call to set up an appointment with a genetic counselor to discuss a potential genetic workup in more detail.

Recurrent Pregnancy Loss Website

To schedule an appointment with a genetic counselor, please call 713-486-9302