- PROBLEM: Some mammalian pregnancy failure is thought to occur by immunological or immunologically modifiable mechanisms. The original model wherein spontaneous abortion was proposed to represent rejection of the conceptus as an allograft has been supplanted by a model of maternal paraimmunological natural effector cell toxicity to fetal trophoblast more closely related to tumor rejection. The problem is to integrate current information concerning the role of immunological, paraimmunological, endocrinological, and stress-triggered neural factors that determine whether or not abortion will occur. METHODS: Review of existing data. RESULTS: An integrated model is proposed. CONCLUSION: Immunological factors play an important role in abortion processes and prevention of abortions. The existence of abortogenic mechanisms and their regulation appears to be based upon optimizing survival of the species. Two new conceptual models provide a useful framework for further investigation of human pregnancy failure and its treatment.