Miscarriage gene may be passed on to IVF babies
A NEW study has shown that 44pc of women who have IVF to have a baby can pass on a gene mutation linked with miscarriage to their embryo.
The genetic variant can be carried by the mother or the father, according to a new multicentre study by CARE Fertility, a sister clinic to Beacon Care Fertility in Dublin.
The study – which was published in the journal 'Reproductive Biomedicine Online' – found a very high incidence of patients who were screened carrying the gene. It is the first time it was found that the gene mutation carried by the male may cause miscarriage in the female.
The gene variant, carried on chromosome 4, can be transmitted by the father or mother and is linked to pregnancy loss and foetal growth retardation. It is also linked to the risk of thrombosis in the woman if she is a carrier. While it is possible to have a full pregnancy, as many as 75pc of those carrying this defective gene are at risk of not having a live birth.
Prof Simon Fishel, of Beacon CARE Fertility, and lead author on the publication said that very recently a new genetic marker has been found that predisposes couples to the risk of miscarriage, which they call the C4/M2 variant.
"C4 M2 is so described because the variant, a genetic marker known as M2, resides within Chromosome 4," he said.
"In addition to the risk of implantation failure and miscarriage, it is linked to blood clotting disorders, pre-eclampsia and low birth weight babies.
"What I do find remarkable, is that in the population of patients studied, the man has the same chance as the woman to pass on this variant to the developing embryo and disturb successful implantation. Where the genetic variant exists, the chance of delivering a baby is reduced to quarter that of fertile couples."
The study involved 314 IVF patients (157 couples); 44pc of those couples carry this gene variant compared to just 15pc in the general population.
Of this group, 24pc were female, and 26pc were male.
"We found that 37pc of couples with unexplained infertility were carriers for the M2 variant," Prof Fishel added.