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The risk of miscarriage with fertility treatment

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Miscarriage is not all that unusual: According to current estimates, 10 - 15% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage. A significant number of these pregnancies end at such an early stage that the woman is often not even aware that she was pregnant. It is believed that the body terminates a pregnancy automatically if, for example, there is an abnormality in the first division of the fertilized egg. With in vitro fertilization, we transfer one fertilized egg. As a matter of principle, it must be noted that at 15 - 30 %, the risk of miscarriage is slightly higher with IVF or ICSI than in the case of a natural pregnancy, which can be explained by the higher average age of IVF patients.

What are the possible causes of miscarriage?

The most common reason known for miscarriages is chromosomal abnormalities – i.e. irregularities in the number or structure of the embryo’s chromosomes. The probability of such anomalies increases significantly as a woman ages; therefore, age is an important factor with miscarriages: parallel to the declining rate of natural pregnancies, the risk of miscarriage increases after 35. Other triggers for habitual abortion (repeated miscarriages) also include:

  • Hormonal causes: The female cycle is controlled by hormones – hormonal imbalance can be the cause of recurrent miscarriages. Known hormone disorders include PCOS, underactive thyroid and progesterone dysfunction.

  • Immunological causes: In rare cases, the mother’s immune system can have an incorrect reaction to the embryo – the immune system identifies the embryo as a foreign body and rejects it.

  • Organ-related causes: Malformations, adhesions or fibroids in the uterus hinder the growth of the embryo and considerably increase the risk of miscarriage. Women with uterine anomalies often have fertility problems, with the result that pregnancy may not occur.

  • Thrombotic disorders: Women with a blood-clotting disorder can develop a circulatory disorder of the placenta during pregnancy. The resulting undernourishment of the baby can cause a miscarriage.

The emergence of human life is a complex process: despite well-advanced diagnostics, it is not always possible to find a single cause of recurrent miscarriages. In our centres, we give you comprehensive advice with regard to the diagnostic and treatment options – always with the aim of creating the optimal conditions for you to have a child.

Getting pregnant after miscarriages

If you have suffered recurrent miscarriages while attempting to conceive naturally, fertility treatment may be the solution – provided that the diagnosis leads to a clear result. Please note that a miscarriage may not necessarily have a single cause. An unhealthy lifestyle, smoking, passive smoking, stress and drug consumption can also increase the risk of a miscarriage. Our experienced doctors will discuss the options and limits of fertility treatment with you as part of the diagnosis and make treatment recommendations.

Miscarriage – Facts and figures

A miscarriage is a pregnancy that ends before the baby weighs 500 g.

According to WHO guidelines, all pregnancies that end by the 27th week are referred to as miscarriages.

Approximately 80% of miscarriages occur before the end of the 12th week of pregnancy.

The risk of miscarriage is higher when a woman has already suffered a miscarriage before and increases proportionately to the number of previous miscarriages.

For women aged 20-25 years, the risk of a miscarriage is on average 9%. For women over 45, the figure is around 75%.

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