Multiple meiotic errors caused by predivision of chromatids in women of advanced maternal age undergoing in vitro fertilisation

Alan H. Handyside*, Markus Montag, M. Cristina Magli, Sjoerd Repping, Joyce Harper, Andreas Schmutzler, Katerina Vesela, Luca Gianaroli, Joep Geraedts

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

86 Citations (Web of Science)


Chromosome aneuploidy is a major cause of pregnancy loss, abnormal pregnancy and live births following both natural conception and in vitro fertilisation (IVF) and increases exponentially with maternal age in the decade preceding the menopause. Molecular genetic analysis following natural conception and spontaneous miscarriage demonstrates that trisomies arise mainly in female meiosis and particularly in the first meiotic division. Here, we studied copy number gains and losses for all chromosomes in the two by-products of female meiosis, the first and second polar bodies, and the corresponding zygotes in women of advanced maternal age undergoing IVF, using microarray comparative genomic hybridisation (array CGH). Analysis of the segregation patterns underlying the copy number changes reveals that premature predivision of chromatids rather than non-disjunction of whole chromosomes causes almost all errors in the first meiotic division and unlike natural conception, over half of aneuploidies result from errors in the second meiotic division. Furthermore, most abnormal zygotes had multiple aneuploidies. These differences in the aetiology of aneuploidy in IVF compared with natural conception may indicate a role for ovarian stimulation in perturbing meiosis in ageing oocytes. European Journal of Human Genetics (2012) 20, 742-747; doi: 10.1038/ejhg.2011.272; published online 8 February 2012
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)742-747
JournalEuropean Journal of Human Genetics
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2012


  • meiosis
  • aneuploidy
  • array comparative genomic hybridisation
  • in vitro fertilisation
  • polar body

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