Women who have suffered unexplained repeated pregnancy loss (uRPL) have altered perceptions and brain responses to male body odours, in comparison to those with no history of uRPL, suggests a new study published today in eLife.
The results could lead to urgently needed answers for many women who experience repeat miscarriage with no clear underlying explanation.
Around 50% of human conceptions and 15% of human pregnancies result in miscarriage, but only a limited number of these can be explained. Body odour has been linked to many aspects of healthy human reproduction — such as synchrony of menstruation between women who live together, and the influence of body odours of breast-feeding women on the timing of ovulation and menstruation in others.
“Given that sense of smell is associated with human reproduction, we hypothesised that it may also be related to disorders of human reproduction,” explains lead author Liron Rozenkrantz, who