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Vanishing twin
A fetus papyraceus shown with its umbilical cord next to the placenta of its dichorionic diamniotic twin
SpecialtyObstetrics and gynaecology Edit this on Wikidata

A vanishing twin, also known as twin resorption, is a fetus in a multigestation pregnancy that dies in utero and is then partially or completely reabsorbed.[1][2] In some instances, the dead twin is compressed into a flattened, parchment-like state known as fetus papyraceus.[3]

Vanishing twins occur in up to one of every eight multifetus pregnancies and may not even be known in most cases.[4] "High resorption rates, which cannot be explained on the basis of the expected abortion rate, suggest intense fetal competition for space, nutrition, or other factors during early gestation, with frequent loss or resorption of the other twin(s)."[5] Some characterize Vanishing Twin syndrome as the loss of a twin before 12 weeks of gestation, or early during the first trimester where it is uncommon for twin pregnancy to have been identified.[6]

According to Boklage, most twins are born as singles and vanished twins are a possible source of abnormal cells.[7] Boklage has proposed vanishing twins may cause non-heterosexual sexual orientation.[7]

In pregnancies achieved by in vitro fertilization, "it frequently happens that more than one amniotic sac can be seen in early pregnancy, whereas a few weeks later there is only one to be seen and the other has 'vanished'".[8]

See also


  1. ^ Landy, Helain Jody; Weiner, Stuart; Corson, Stephen L.; Batzer, Frances R.; Bolognese, Ronald J. (July 1986). "The 'vanishing twin': ultrasonographic assessment of fetal disappearance in the first trimester" (PDF). American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. 155 (1): 14–19. doi:10.1016/0002-9378(86)90068-2. PMID 3524235. S2CID 35698009.
  2. ^ "Public Education Pamphlets". Retrieved 21 December 2017.
  3. ^ Peleg, Dan; Ferber, Asaf; Orvieto, Raoul; Bar-Hava, Itai; Ben-Rafael, Zion (October 1998). "Single intrauterine fetal death (fetus papyraceus) due to uterine trauma in a twin pregnancy". European Journal of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Biology. 80 (2): 175–176. doi:10.1016/S0301-2115(98)00128-6. PMID 9846663. S2CID 21939913.
  4. ^ Boklage CE (1995). "Chapter 4:The frequency and survivability of natural twin conceptions". In Keith LG, Papiernik E, Keith DM, Luke B (eds.). Multiple Pregnancy: Epidemiology, Gestation and Perinatal Outcome (1st ed.). New York: Taylor & Francis Group. pp. 41–42, 49. ISBN 978-1-85070-666-3. OCLC 32169252.
  5. ^ Sulak, Laura Eve; Dodson, Melvin G. (December 1986). "The vanishing twin: pathologic confirmation of an ultrasonographic phenomenon". Obstetrics and Gynecology. 68 (6): 811–815. PMID 3537876. S2CID 68768784.
  6. ^ Khalil, Asma; Lewi, Liesbeth; Lopriore, Enrico (2021). Twin and Higher-order Pregnancies. Springer International Publishing. ISBN 9783030476526.
  7. ^ a b Boklage, Charles E. (2006). "Embryogenesis of chimeras, twins and anterior midline asymmetries". Human Reproduction. 21 (3): 579–591. doi:10.1093/humrep/dei370. PMID 16253966.
  8. ^ Jauniaux, Eric; Elkhazen, Nabih; Leroy, Fernand; Wilkin, Paul; Rodesch, Frederic; Justin, Jean (October 1988). "Clinical and morphologic aspects of the vanishing twin phenomenon". Obstetrics and Gynecology. 72 (4): 577–581. PMID 3047607. S2CID 42246785.

Further reading