Certain HLA Genes Can Cause Miscarriage

How the Immune System Affects Pregnancy

HLA refers to a family of genes on chromosome number six that encodes for the production of molecules that have a function in the immune system. They help to distinguish the body's own proteins from those of invaders such as viruses and bacteria. They use what are called MHC molecules – MHC stands for major histocompatibility complex – to assist in the process; these molecules exist on the surface of every cell in the body. It has been discovered that certain HLA genes will predispose a woman to multiple miscarriages. This can be due to her increased risk of autoimmune disease or because certain HLA genes increase the production of a particular inflammatory chemical which causes the immune system to attack.

In these ways, the immune system itself interferes with a successful pregnancy as it sees the embryo as something foreign to be rejected. This can, unfortunately, also carry over into later pregnancies when an identification made by the immune system that the embryo is an enemy cell is used for reference when a new embryo or pregnancy is encountered again. Particular similarities between the HLA genes of the mother and those of her male partner and the response of the mother's immune system may be a cause of certain autoimmune complications in the mother - this being a result of the mother's production of many inflammatory cells and chemicals (cytokines). Sometimes it is simply the presence of certain HLA genes in the mother that is cause of increased production of inflammatory cytokines. HLA matching, or the similarities between the mother's and father's HLA genes can also cause pregnancy complications in other ways.

Determining the Cause of Pregnancy Problems

Dr. Braverman and our medical team are all committed to doing whatever we can to help you with your goals for your pregnancy and your family. We will conduct thorough testing to determine the actual cause of the issues you are facing, explain your options for treatment and help you through each step of the way. We work with patients worldwide and will endeavor to continue our record of success with you and your family.

If you are having trouble successfully completing your pregnancies, contact an infertility specialist from Braverman IVF & Reproductive Immunology today.