Is Recurrent Miscarriage a Sign That I Need To Use an Egg Donor?

Miscarriages are more common than you might expect, with 1 in 4 pregnancies ending in a miscarriage. In some cases, a woman will go on to experience further miscarriages after the first. If a woman has two or more concurrent pregnancy losses, then it is considered to be a condition known as recurrent, or repeat miscarriage. Only 1% of women will have recurrent miscarriages, but for those who do, the experience and subsequent fertility care needs may bring a physical, mental, and emotional journey they wouldn’t have anticipated when they first decided to grow their families.

We wanted to outline some background on recurrent miscarriages, how they can be treated, and why in some cases, women will need to consider working with an egg donor in order to carry a pregnancy to term on their own.

Why do miscarriages, including repeat miscarriages, occur?

There are a few different reasons why pregnancy loss happens. Most miscarriages take place because the embryo receives an abnormal amount of chromosomes during fertilization. This is a genetic issue and occurs by chance – meaning that the patient has not done anything wrong to incur the pregnancy loss. This type of miscarriage is most common during the first trimester of pregnancy and the risk of it occurring increases with maternal age.

A miscarriage can also occur for unknown reasons, meaning that, even with testing, your doctor will not be able to determine an exact cause for the pregnancy loss.

How is recurrent miscarriage treated?

Recurrent miscarriage treatment will depend on whether your doctor is able to determine the cause of the miscarriages and whether treatment is available for that issue. For example, in cases where there is a genetic component present, your doctor can suggest genetic counseling services. In in vitro fertilization treatment (IVF), patients can use a service known as preimplantation genetic testing (PGT) to help address genetic issues specifically.

If I have multiple miscarriages, will I need an egg donor?

Sometimes, even with services provided by advanced productive technologies, an egg donor will still be needed because successful treatment has not been achieved. If the genetic issue lies with the female partner, an egg donor could be selected and utilized so an embryo could be made from her eggs and the male partner’s sperm. In this situation, the genetic issue would be removed and the female patient could be implanted with the embryo created with the donated eggs and the male partner’s sperm.

Your fertility specialist will be able to provide a path for testing and treatment that may or may not involve conversations about using an egg donor. Typically, in such situations, an egg donor would be used after fertility care was unsuccessful.