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Recurrent miscarriage
  1. Andrew W Horne, PhD, MRCOG, Specialist Registrar and
  2. Claire I Alexander, MPhil, MRCOG, Consultant
  1. Simpson Centre for Reproductive Health, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Andrew Horne, Simpson Centre for Reproductive Health, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, 51 Little France Crescent, Edinburgh EH16 4SA, UK. Tel: +44 (0) 131 536 1000. E-mail: awhorne{at}hotmail.com

Abstract

Recurrent miscarriage, the occurrence of three consecutive first-trimester losses of pregnancy, affects 1% of women. The purported causes of recurrent miscarriage include chromosomal abnormalities, thrombophilia, metabolic disorders, anatomical causes and immune factors. At present, the only recommended investigations are testing for lupus anticoagulant and anticardiolipin antibody levels (to diagnose antiphospholipid syndrome, an acquired thrombophilia) and the karyotyping of both parents for chromosomal abnormalities. Women with antiphospholipid syndrome should be offered treatment with aspirin and low molecular weight heparin. Couples with chromosomal abnormalities should be referred to a clinical geneticist with whom the options of prenatal diagnosis, pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, donor gametes and adoption in subsequent pregnancies should be discussed. Couples with unexplained recurrent miscarriage should be offered appropriate emotional support and reassurance that they have a good prognosis for future pregnancies.

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  • Accepted January 25, 2005.

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