Understanding the various causes of miscarriages can be complex. Scientists are constantly gathering new information to help them better understand fertility. Often, people think it always goes back to the women when couples are experiencing miscarriages. However, a new study found screening men may help prevent miscarriages for some couples. It may not be the key for everybody, but it may still offer some hope.
A miscarriage refers to the loss of a fetus, as Healthline noted, and often happen early on in the pregnancy. They generally happen before 20 weeks of pregnancy, March of Dimes noted. Among expecting women who know that they're pregnant, approximately 10 to 15 percent will end in a miscarriage. However, Mayo Clinic noted that the number of pregnancies that may end in miscarriage is likely higher than what's reported. Exact numbers are unknown because some may happen before a woman is aware she's pregnant.
In some cases, couples can experience recurrent pregnancy loss. According to March of Dimes, this is when you have two or more miscarriages in a row. The organization noted about 1 percent of women experience this.
The causes behind recurrent pregnancy loss can vary, with March of Dimes noting that possible causes can include problems with the uterus, chromosomes, or even infections. And now, a new study has found one other possible factor.
In a study published in the Men's Health Issue of AACC's Clinical Chemistry journal, researchers decided to look into male partners' reproductive health in couples experiencing recurrent pregnancy loss (RPL). The researchers noted within the study's abstract that women with RPL are regularly screened in an effort to get to the bottom of what might be going on, but that regular screening of their partners isn't currently recommended.
For the study, researchers looked at "reproductive parameters" between a group of male partners of women with recurrent pregnancy loss and a group of healthy men, according to PR Newswire. They found that testosterone levels were 15 percent lower in the group of men whose partners had recurrent pregnancy loss and that estradiol levels were 16 percent lower than the healthy group, as reported by the study's abstract.
In the study's abstract, researchers also noted that the recurrent pregnancy loss group had lower sperm motility.
Researchers concluded the paper noting, "Our data suggest that male partners of women with RPL have impaired reproductive endocrine function, increased levels of semen ROS, and sperm DNA fragmentation."
Waljit S. Dhillo, who lead the research team, said, according to PR Newswire:
Our data have important implications for the management of couples with [recurrent pregnancy loss]. Endocrine and molecular sperm profiling may offer a potential novel approach to stratifying future miscarriage risk.
More studies need to be done so that researchers can fully understand these findings. The research team wants to be sure that there aren't other lifestyle or dietary factors at play.
But, this study still points to the need for male partners to also have routine screening when it comes to couples experiencing recurrent pregnancy loss. It could help really help couples and, after all, that's the goal.
After a very frustrating first birth experience, this Deaf mother wanted a change. Will the help of two Deaf doulas give the quality communication and birth experience this mom wants and deserves? Watch Episode Four of Romper's Doula Diaries, Season Two, below, and visit Bustle Digital Group's YouTube page for more episodes.