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January 19, 2012

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Home » Metro » Health and Science

Rise in twin births yields more problems

THE probability of giving birth to twins in the city has risen from the natural chance of one in every 88 pregnancies to the current 50 to 60 pregnancies due to abuse of fertility drugs and wide adoption of in vitro fertilization, local doctors said yesterday.

The rise in twins has also resulted in more cases of problem births, including fatal ones.

Doctors at Shanghai No.1 Maternity and Child Health Hospital announced yesterday that a pair of twin boys were successfully delivered after receiving the city's first in-womb surgery through a fetoscope to treat their blood condition, which often can be fatal.

"Twins doesn't only mean double children and double happiness, but it may also bring double trouble and double risks," said Dr Duan Tao, president of Shanghai No.1 Maternity and Child Health Hospital. "We don't encourage man-made twins."

The twins, who were delivered on December 29, were found to have twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS) during the mother's 15-week pregnancy. TTTS is an unbalanced blood supply between the two, as one suffers anemia, a small heart and low weight due to losing blood while the other becomes swollen and has a big heart from receiving too much blood.

More than 90 percent of such fetuses will die during the middle stage of pregnancy if not receiving treatment, said Dr Sun Luming of the hospital's fetal medicine department.

The hospital performed fetoscopy surgery on August 28 to cut the blood transfusion between the two fetuses and the blood transfusion was found balanced two weeks later.

The hospital is the first in the city receiving an approval for carrying out fetoscopy surgery, which enters the womb through opening small holes without cutting the belly open.

"We have used fetoscope on TTTS treatment and selective multifetal reduction surgery, which reduces the dead fetus or the fetus with severe congenital disability like Down Syndrome," Dr Sun said.


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