Miscarriage is devastating loss, from the minute a couple know that they are pregnant they start planning for their arrival of their baby. To experience the emotional pain of one miscarriage is heartbreaking for both partners, let alone going through this pain two or three times. Women often feel that it may be their fault or that there is something wrong with them. There are a number of causes that we address with recurrent miscarriage and a number of studies have shown that low sperm count and poor morphology can be a causative factor in miscarriage.
Sperm accounts behind miscarriage
“Women experiencing miscarriages typically had husbands with low sperm counts and 48% ‘visually abnormal sperm’. Men who fathered normal pregnancies had 25% higher sperm counts and only 5% ‘visually abnormal sperm’”. Dr’s. Mirjiam Furuhjelm & Birgit Johson — Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Sabbatsberg Hospital, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm Sweden. International Journal of Fertility, 7 (1): 17-21, 1962.
The good news is the number of sperm and their morphology are one of the easiest causes of miscarriage to treat with; lifestyle changes, nutritional and herbal medicine.
Other causes which Natural Fertility Management can treat include:
- Fibroids, anti-phospholipid syndrome
- PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome)
- Luteal phase defect
- Toxic exposure
- Chromosomal abnormalities
How lifestyle can lead to miscarriage
Many couples who have a miscarriage are told that the laboratory tests have shown that there is a chromosome abnormality. This sounds very serious doesn’t it? It is serious and these problems can lead to the birth of a handicapped child. Usually, however, the problem is not inherent and in most cases can be overcome by changes in lifestyle. The couple can become extremely anxious unnecessarily.
Almost all miscarriages are abnormal in some way. The pregnancy is lost because the embryo did not develop properly. The cause of this is usually because either the man or woman has been exposed to chemicals or one or other of them has a dietary deficiency or a bad habit of some type. Bad habits include not drinking enough water, taking drugs, having too much alcohol, smoking heavily and in the case of the man, exposing his testes to too much heat. Infections, both of the common flu variety and of the STD – sexually transmitted variety – can also be involved. Viruses can break chromosomes in exactly the same way as chemicals, radiation and serious dietary deficiencies. In some rare cases the problem is ongoing and can be inherited. It is important that each case is investigated properly.
The types of chromosome abnormalities that are found in miscarriages are most frequently changes in chromosome number. Changes in the structure of chromosomes can also occur but they are far less frequent than changes in number.
Most people reading this article would know that the normal number of chromosomes is 46.
So how can this change?
The answer lies in the process of fertility and conception. Fertility in both the man and the woman involves a special form of cell division – called meiosis – in which the chromosome number is halved. This ‘reduction’ division occurs so that when the sperm fertilizes the egg, the child will have the same number of chromosomes as the parents. Half the child’s chromosomes come from mother and half from father.
Sometimes this very specialized division process makes errors and one or two chromosomes end up in the wrong place. The resultant egg or sperm then has one or two extra chromosomes. Of course there is also a complementary egg or sperm that is missing those chromosomes but these cells usually die. In fact the only cells that can survive with missing chromosomes are those that miss sex chromosomes. Some miscarriages have only 45 chromosomes, including only one X chromosome and occasionally babies are born with only one X chromosome. They grow up with a special set of characteristics known as Turner’s syndrome.
Fertilized eggs that result from eggs or sperm with extra chromosomes usually miscarry although those with an extra copy of one chromosome 21 might survive with Down’s syndrome. However the couples that have these miscarriages or babies with extra chromosomes are themselves, usually normal. It is the conditions in their bodies at the time of creating the eggs and sperm that are the problem. These unfavourable conditions can usually be corrected by correcting the bad lifestyle unless the problem is advancing age.
From about age 35 in both men and women, cell division can be compromised. The problem lies in changes in the body that affect the function of the energy systems in the cells. Optimizing all aspects of lifestyle can often overcome these problems but the effects of any poor habits will be amplified with aging.
The other problem that can affect chromosome number is delayed ovulation. When the egg is over-ripe it can be fertilized by more than one sperm. In such cases the fertilized eggs has one or more extra sets of chromosomes and is often given the unfortunate name of a ‘molar pregnancy’. Fortunately, this problem can also be overcome by correcting poor diet and lifestyle.
If you have had a pregnancy in which a chromosomes abnormality was detected but you, yourselves are normal, make sure that you take the time and effort to correct your lifestyle. You will be rewarded by feeling much healthier and hopefully also by giving birth to a healthy baby.