Understanding Blighted Ovum: Exploring Causes and Implications

Jul 01, 2023

Experiencing a blighted ovum can be emotionally distressing for couples hoping to conceive. In this blog post, we will provide a clearer understanding of what a blighted ovum is and explore the potential causes supported by scientific studies. The goal is to shed light on this condition and offer guidance during throughout your fertility journey. 

What is a Blighted Ovum?
A blighted ovum, also known as anembryonic pregnancy, occurs when a gestational sac forms in the uterus but does not contain a developing embryo. Essentially, it is an empty sac without a baby [1].

Understanding the Causes:
The causes of blighted ovum are not fully understood, but scientific research has identified some possible factors [1] [2] [3].

1. Chromosomal Abnormalities:
The majority of blighted ovum cases are believed to result from chromosomal abnormalities in the fertilized egg. These abnormalities occur randomly and are typically incompatible with further embryo development. During fertilization, when the egg and sperm come together, genetic material combines to form a new set of chromosomes that determine the development of the embryo. However, in some cases, errors occur during this process, resulting in chromosomal abnormalities that are incompatible with further embryo development [1].

2. Hormonal Imbalances:
Hormonal imbalances, particularly low levels of the hormone progesterone, have been associated with blighted ovum. Progesterone plays a crucial role in maintaining pregnancy and supporting the early development of the embryo. Insufficient levels of progesterone can affect the implantation of the embryo in the uterus or hinder its growth, leading to a blighted ovum.

3. Structural Abnormalities:
Structural abnormalities in the uterus, such as fibroids or polyps, may also contribute to the occurrence of a blighted ovum. These abnormalities can disrupt the implantation process or affect embryo growth and development [3].

Experiencing a blighted ovum can be a difficult and emotional journey. If you have experienced a blighted ovum, seeking support from healthcare professionals is crucial. They can provide guidance, compassion, and further medical evaluation if necessary. Working with a fertility focused dietitian or nutritionist can be helpful to improve egg quality and improve the chances of a healthy pregnancy. 

[1] Simpson JL. "Causes of fetal wastage." Clin Obstet Gynecol. 2007 Sep;50(3):10-30.
[2] Naguib K, et al. "Blighted ovum: Pathogenesis and genetic implications." Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2017 Mar;210:363-368.
[3] Hooker AB, et al. "Systematic review and meta-analysis of intrauterine adhesions after miscarriage: Prevalence, risk factors and long-term reproductive outcome." Hum Reprod Update. 2014 Sep-Oct;20(5):262-78.

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