As a result of investigations carried out in recent years, gross chromosomal aberration has been established as a major etiologic factor in early abortion. One puzzling fact which has emerged from these cytogenetic investigations is that a considerable number of specimens examined have, for no apparent reason, failed to grow in culture. The proportion of failed cultures has varied in different series. Bove et al. and Carr, who have published results from the two largest series of abortions examined cytogenetically, quote a failure rate of 30% and 42%, respectively. Carr states that the I 49 specimens which failed to grow in culture did not differ from the 200 successfully cultured specimens in respect to the patient's previous obstetric history or gestational age. Two possible explanations for such growth failure must be considered: (1) that it is due primarily to abnormalities inherent in the specimens, and (2) that it may be the fault of technical factors.
In this study, an attempt has been made to ascertain to what extent the growth failure rate is influenced by tissue-culture technic. Three different tissue-culture technics were used in the cytogenetic investigation of 45 unselected cases classified as spontaneous abortion. The methods used and the results obtained are described.
Of the 20 specimens which were successfully cultured, three were found to have abnormal karyotypes; the findings are described.