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Monozygotic multiple gestation following in vitro fertilization: analysis of seven cases from Japan


We present a series of monozygous multiple gestations achieved following in vitro fertilization (IVF): one case of monochorionic triplet pregnancy and six cases of dizygotic triplet pregnancy. From September 2000 to December 2006, all patients achieving clinical pregnancy by ART were reviewed (n = 2433). A 37 year-old woman who delivered a healthy singleton after IVF returned two years later for FET, and a single blastocyst was transferred. This also resulted in pregnancy, but TV-USG revealed a single gestational sac with three distinct amniotic sacs, each containing a distinct fetal pole with cardiac activity. This pregnancy was electively terminated at nine weeks' gestation. An additional six cases of dizygotic triplets established after fresh embryo transfer (no ICSI or assisted hatching) are also described. Of these, one resulted in a miscarriage at eight weeks' gestation and five patients have an ongoing pregnancy. This case series suggests the incidence of dizygotic/monochorionic triplets following IVF is approximately 10 times higher than the expected rate in unassisted conceptions, and underscores the importance of a conservative approach to lower the number of embryos at transfer. The role of embryo transfer technique and in vitro culture media in the twinning process requires further study.


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Correspondence to Atsushi Yanaihara.

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AY was the primary author of the manuscript and carried out statistical evaluation. TY, HM, TK were involved in management of the IVF. HW was mainly culture the embryo. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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Yanaihara, A., Yorimitsu, T., Motoyama, H. et al. Monozygotic multiple gestation following in vitro fertilization: analysis of seven cases from Japan . J Exp Clin Assist Reprod 4, 4 (2007).

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