All our cells have chromosomes which carry the blueprint for our structure – arms, legs etc – and for their function. Chromosomes are made up of DNA and protein. Chromosomes can be abnormal in three ways: there can be a gain in number, a loss in number or a change in structure. Almost all chromosome abnormalities cause serious problems. Most of these problems are lethal so that the cells carrying the abnormalities die. For this reason, most embryos carrying chromosome abnormalities die in the first few weeks. Chromosome abnormalities are the major direct cause of miscarriage.
Many couples who have a miscarriage are told that the laboratory tests have shown that there is a chromosome abnormality. This sounds very serious doesn’t it? It is serious and these problems can lead to the birth of a handicapped child. Usually, however, the couple is completely normal and the chromosomal abnormality has only occurred in the gametes – either the woman’s egg or the man’s sperm. Occasionally the problem is present in all the man or woman’s cells but blood tests can detect this.
Unfortunately there is still a great lack of understanding amongst doctors on how chromosome abnormalities arise. Doctors will usually reassure a couple who has normal blood chromosomes that the problem in the embryo will not reoccur. This is bad advice. I have spent many years studying the causes of chromosomal abnormalities in miscarriage and have proved that the problems occur because of problems in lifestyle. Until these are corrected the problems in the eggs and sperm can remain or reoccur.
Chromosomal abnormalities in miscarriages usually occur because either the man or woman has been exposed to chemicals or one or other of them has a dietary deficiency or a bad habit of some type. Bad habits include not drinking enough water, taking drugs, having too much alcohol, smoking heavily and in the case of the man, exposing his testes to too much heat. Infections, both of the common flu variety and of the STD – sexually transmitted variety – can also be involved. Viruses can break chromosomes in exactly the same way as chemicals, radiation and serious dietary deficiencies. Aging itself is associated with changes in body functions that cause a woman’s eggs to misdivide.
Most people reading this article would know that the normal number of chromosomes is 46. So how can this change? The answer lies in the process of fertility and conception. Fertility in both the man and the woman involves a special form of cell division – called meiosis – in which the chromosome number is halved. Sometimes this very specialized division process makes errors and one or two chromosomes end up in the wrong place. The resultant egg or sperm then has one or two extra chromosomes. Fertilized eggs that result from eggs or sperm with extra chromosomes usually miscarry although those with an extra copy of one chromosome 21 might survive with Down’s syndrome.
The other problem that can affect chromosome number is delayed ovulation. When the egg is over-ripe it can be fertilized by more than one sperm. In such cases the fertilized eggs has one or more extra sets of chromosomes. Fortunately, this problem can also be overcome by correcting poor diet and lifestyle.
If you have had a pregnancy in which a chromosomes abnormality was detected but you, yourselves are normal, make sure that you take the time and effort to correct your lifestyle. You will find a detailed lifestyle evaluation and specific advice on my websites. Once you adopt a healthy lifestyle, you will be rewarded by feeling much healthier and hopefully also by giving birth to a healthy baby.