NBC News is reporting on promising new technology that could shed light on one of the most heartbreaking events in a woman or couple’s life—miscarriages.
According to the report, “miscarriages occur in up to a quarter of known pregnancies — and about 1 percent of women experience three or more miscarriages.” In spite of that, the cause is rarely uncovered. Chromosomal abnormalities are one of the most prevalent causes, but genetic testing is often prohibitively expensive. As a result, the procedure is usually not even recommended until a woman has miscarried several times.
Dr. Zev Williams, director of the Columbia University Fertility Center in New York, has combined several new technological developments to create a new way of testing fetal tissue for genetic issues. The new method can be done in four hours and costs less than $200, although Dr. Williams hopes to eventually lower the cost even more.
While the new testing won’t miraculously solve the underlying causes of miscarriages, it will help shed light on them. That information can not only help bring a measure of peace to women who have experienced miscarriages, but hopefully provide earlier identification of treatable causes.
“Pregnancy loss has really been, from a patient’s point of view, incredibly devastating to be going through, but from a medical and scientific point of view, a black box,” said Dr. Williams. “We’re starting to chip away at that.”