Fertility Expert Dr. Mark Surrey On Dealing With A Miscarriage

Dr. Mark SurreyPhoto Credit: Shutterstock

Widely considered one of the top fertility experts in the field, Dr. Mark Surrey has been in practice for over 25 years. He is a board-certified reproductive and endoscopic surgeon and serves as clinical professor in the Department of OBGYN at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine. He was elected President of the American Laparoscopy Society & Pacific Coast Reproductive Society and is a Clinical Director of Fellowship Training for UCLA & Cedars Sinai Reproductive Endocrinology. Also a founding member of The Society of Reproductive Surgeons. Dr. Surrey is a yearly recipient of the leading research contributions for ASRM. Furthermore, he is the associate director at the Southern California Reproductive Center, a clinic he co-founded.

In early October, model Chrissy Teigen and singer John Legend shared on Instagram that they had suffered a miscarriage of, what was going to be their third child. "We are shocked and in the kind of deep pain you only hear about, the kind of pain we’ve never felt before. We were never able to stop the bleeding and give our baby the fluids he needed, despite bags and bags of blood transfusions. It just wasn’t enough," Teigen wrote. Haute MD sat down with top fertility expert Dr. Mark Surrey to learn more about coping with the unimaginable loss, and lasting physical symptoms of a miscarriage.

 

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HB: What are some of the most common reasons for a high-risk pregnancy?

By definition, a pregnancy is normally not high risk, but it is the carrier you would define as high risk. I.e. women with advanced maternal age and medical problems such as pulmonary
hypertension and diabetes stand higher chances for a miscarriage.

Three of the most common reasons for a miscarriage are:
1) Genetic abnormalities in the fetus
2) An immune or metabolic deficiency (i.e. abnormality in the thyroid function) in the woman carrying the pregnancy.
3) Or the lesser common reason of congenital abnormality of the uterus, meaning a malfunction of the uterus during embryonic life. While is occurs in less than 5% of women, this condition has been noted to cause up to 25% of miscarriages or the delivery of premature babies.

HB:  For anyone who has suffered a miscarriage what is your advice to them and their loved ones dealing with the loss?

A miscarriage is a very difficult and painful experience and every woman should make sure to get the best possible care, starting with a physical evaluation by your doctor to see if a cause can be found and treatment suggested accordingly. Patients are helped when they understand what has happened and figure out how to prevent another miscarriage in the future. The emotional effects of a miscarriage are also not to be underestimated and seeking emotional support from a professional can help ease the traumatic loss. No woman should deal with this difficult experience on their own.

HB: How traumatic is a miscarriage physically on the body? Are there lasting impacts?

If treated properly a miscarriage shouldn’t have lasting effects on the body. But if not and there are retained products of conception causing an infection in the uterus that can affect future success in pregnancies and cause physical harm to a woman’s body.

HB: For women who are high risk in pregnancy, what is your advice and tips to them carry their child to term?

It depends on why they are high risk: If the reason for a high-risk pregnancy is medical or anatomic problems, it is advisable to seek a timely evaluation by a reproductive specialist who can treat the issue. Many doctors will not treat women after two miscarriages, which is of course devastating for the patient. I believe everyone should be able to get treatment and care and not just be told to keep trying naturally. Especially if the patient is a bit older, this approach not advisable. Valuable time can be wasted and the psychological effects of one or even multiple miscarriages can be devastating and I would like to spare my patients that experience, if at all possible.