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Keywords:

  • Chromosome abnormalities;
  • fetal karyotype;
  • spontaneous miscarriages

Objectives:  Cytogenetic evaluation of product of conception (POC) is essential to determine the cause of pregnancy loss and aid the prenatal diagnosis of subsequent pregnancies. The purpose of this study is twofold. (1) To profile cytogenetic abnormalities, their relationship with maternal and gestational age and analyze sex ratios in our case series of 2052 consecutive samples of POC referred to the Baystate Medical Center, Laboratory Genetics between January 1992 and January 1999. (2) To present a comprehensive review of such data published in the last 15 years, in order to study temporal differences in the above parameters and make this information readily available for cytogeneticists and genetic counselors.

Materials and methods:  Data was entered and analyzed in Epi Info version 6.0 using the Z-test, chi-square test of significance and linear correlation coefficient.

Results and conclusions:  The profile of cytogenetic abnormalities detected in POC has not changes significantly over time. The mean maternal age in our study (overall and for trisomies) was higher than that reported previously, which is consistent with the noted trend of increasing age at pregnancy in recent years. Our study provides evidence that abnormal karyotypes are aborted earlier and that tetraploidies have the least survival amongst all abnormalities. The higher mean gestational age for trisomic abortions in our study, as compared with previously reported figures, can be attributed to the increasing practice of active maternal screening with subsequent therapeutic abortions. Analysis of sex ratios may reaffirm a female specific developmental disadvantage in early stages of pregnancy.