A new blood test designed by British researchers for women undergoing the in vitro fertilization (IVF) process will not only show whether a woman is pregnant but what her risk rates of losing her baby to miscarriage are.
Sadly, women who undergo IVF procedures are often no strangers to miscarriage. It’s almost an unofficial expectation that you may miscarry when continually trying to get pregnant, but one that devastates women trying so hard to conceive.
Now, scientists at the Glasgow Centre for Reproductive Medicine (GCRM) have discovered that low levels of the bHCG (beta-hcg) are linked to higher risks of miscarriage, after studying the hormone levels in almost 2,000 women who became pregnant through IVF.
They found pregnancies in which women had initial beta hcg levels of less than 30 units per liter only had a 2 percent chance of going through eight weeks or more of pregnancy. Women who had levels of 30-40 units per liter had a 24 percent chance of a pregnancy surviving past eight weeks, and those who had 50 to 70 units per liter had over a 50 percent chance of survival past eight weeks. Women who have concentrations above 70 units per liter had predicted survival rates of 86 percent.
Marco Gaudoin with the GCRM says that even when couples achieve pregnancy and find out after two weeks they have conceived, there is no guarantee that this leads to live birth and this new prediction based on beta-HCG levels allows doctors to counsel patients on the likelihood of miscarriage.
He believes that this counseling will allow patients to be better prepared psychologically and emotionally, thoughit needs to be done in a sensitive manner.
In order to be accurate, the test must be done on the 15th day of the embryo’s development, which is easy to do with IVF because that date is known exactly. With natural conceptions, that ability is much more difficult, and therefore can lead to many false results.
The researchers will present their findings at the annual conference of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Geneva, Switzerland this week, and plan to look into the prediction testing to be an option for all pregnant women.