The male contribution to recurrent pregnancy loss

Yetunde Ibrahim, Erica Johnstone


There are several known causes of recurrent pregnancy loss (RPL) in a couple, which include endocrine abnormalities, immunologic abnormalities, structural uterine abnormalities and karyotype abnormalities. The evaluation largely focuses on the female. The male contribution to RPL remains understudied. With the exception of the karyotype analysis, there is currently no other recommended testing for the male partner of a woman who has suffered multiple pregnancy losses. Chromosomal abnormalities are well defined causes of pregnancy losses in the literature. However, despite the fact that abnormal DNA fragmentation has been implicated in the pathogenesis of unexplained RPL, it is not routinely checked during the evaluation of RPL. This is likely due to the fact that abnormal DNA fragmentation is the end result of multiple different mechanisms including environmental exposures, varicoceles, gene alteration and epigenetic changes resulting in an inherent susceptibility to DNA damage? We are just beginning to scratch the surface of our understanding of the male contribution to RPL and more studies especially focusing on epigenetic modifications and gene alterations are needed.