Miscarriages are common. As many as 50 percent of all pregnancies end in miscarriage, with most occurring before a person misses a menstrual period or even knows they’re pregnant. But the causes are varied and complex, and not all risk factors are known. However, according to a new study, a man’s reproductive health may also play a role: low testosterone levels could cause miscarriage.
The study, published in the Men’s Health Issue of AACC’s Clinical Chemistry journal, analyzed the “reproductive parameters” of a group of male partners whose significant others had endured recurrent pregnancy loss — three or more consecutive miscarriages — and a group of healthy men. They found that testosterone levels were 15 percent lower in the group of men whose partners had recurrent pregnancy loss, and that their estradiol levels were 16 percent lower.
The recurrent pregnancy loss group also experienced reduced sperm motility.
“Our data has important implications for the management of couples with [recurrent pregnancy loss],” lead researcher Dr. Waljit S. Dhillo said in a statement. “Endocrine and molecular sperm profiling may offer a potential novel approach to stratifying future miscarriage risk.”
That said, Dhillo noted that the exact correlation is unclear, and additional research will be necessary to “investigate whether endocrine and molecular sperm abnormalities may be ameliorated by lifestyle, dietary, and hormonal interventions to optimize chances of successful conception in couples with [recurrent pregnancy loss].”
But regardless of the outcome, these findings are groundbreaking. Not only do they have the potential to change the way couples dealing with infertility and/or recurrent pregnancy loss are screened and treated, they can (and will) alleviate the pressure many women face after enduring a miscarriage. And that? That is everything.