Steroids may prevent miscarriage

Steroids could stop unexplained miscarriages and failed IVF

Women who have suffered several miscarriages or unsuccessful IVF treatments could take a course of steroids to become mothers, new trials have shown.

The drug could prevent up to 3,000 unexplained miscarriages each year after tests on 120 women identified natural killer cells as a cause of miscarriages and failed IVF treatments.

The British Association conference was told yesterday that these natural killer cells are actually beneficial to the body as they can destroy infected or malignant cells.

However, large numbers of killer cells in the uterus can rapidly increase the size of blood vessels, which in turn transports supplementary oxygen-bearing blood, often causing miscarriages or stopping IVF embryos from implanting.

Steroids were administered to 40 women in the trial and three quarters of the women have successfully given birth. All of the women had previously suffered several miscarriages.

The drugs reduced the level of natural killer cells in the womb, leading to doctors’ belief that this increases the chances of embryos reaching full term.

Dr Siobhan Quenby who carried out the research commented: ‘If we have higher levels of natural killer cells in the uterus we have more blood vessels and more blood flow. We’ve been able to find a missing piece of the jigsaw of why some women have multiple miscarriages.’

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