Embryo freezing after a miscarriage is not impossible, but is also not without its risks. Because it is often difficult to determine the exact cause of a miscarriage, particularly in the first trimester, frozen embryos may not be the solution to a woman’s infertility.
Causes of Miscarriage and Embryos
Many woman experience a miscarriage during the first three months of pregnancy, commonly referred to as the first trimester. A miscarriage during this period of time can be caused by innumerable factors, such as the embryo failing to attach to the uterine wall, the embryo not growing properly or other causes. Often, it is difficult if not impossible for a physician to determine the cause of the miscarriage when the embryo is so young.
A miscarriage during the last six months of pregnancy is rarer and more serious. Because the embryo is more developed and the woman’s body has sustained a pregnancy beyond the first three months, a miscarriage at this time indicates that there was a problem with the woman’s body to properly hold a fetus or that the fetus was unable to continue development beyond this point.
Miscarriages and Egg and Sperm Quality
A nonviable or damaged embryo may be the cause of a miscarriage at any time during a woman’s pregnancy. To cause a pregnancy or to continue to develop into a baby, an embryo must be properly fertilized, be healthy, be able to attach to the uterine wall and be able to continue its growth. An embryo contains both sperm and an egg, and therefore either one could have been the impetus for the miscarriage. While a miscarriage may not be due to poor egg quality, there is no way to be certain of this other than by testing eggs, which would lead to their destruction and inability to be used.
Poor sperm quality may be to blame for the miscarriage. In this case, there is most likely no problem with the eggs and the donor would be able to donate. This would be determined by testing the sperm used for the previous fertilization, if possible.
Effect of Miscarriage on Embryo Freezing
Unless a physician or specialist can definitively state that it was not a problem with the embryo that caused the miscarriage, there is no guarantee that subsequent embryos will be healthy and able to be carried to full term. Most physicians will test both egg and sperm prior to permitting embryo freezing for future use by the donors or an individual because of the potential of the embryo being nonviable. The expense, invasive nature and emotional turmoil of freezing an embryo make it difficult for a physician to be comfortable doing so when the possibility of there being a problem with the embryos exists.
However, as it is difficult to determine the cause of many miscarriages, your physician may permit you to freeze embryos in hopes that they will be viable and not experience the same problems as did the miscarried embryo. Some physicians may even attempt to implant the embryos and hope for a successful pregnancy. Beware, though, of physicians that are untroubled by a donor’s previous miscarriage, as a miscarriage indicates potential serious complications and subsequent miscarriages.