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Review
, 35 (2), 69-82

Fetal Reduction: 25 Years' Experience

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Review

Fetal Reduction: 25 Years' Experience

Mark I Evans et al. Fetal Diagn Ther.

Abstract

Fetal reduction (FR) began in the 1980s to salvage the pregnancies of couples needing fertility therapy who were finally successful but with too many fetuses. Since then, it has gone from a rarity performed in only the highest risk situations to an integral fail-safe of infertility practice. Our understanding of the problems of multiple and premature births has increased - even twins carry 4-5 times more risk than singletons. Evaluation of fetuses before FR has permitted more intelligent choices and improved resultant outcomes. We now perform chorionic villus sampling in approximately 85% of cases, obtain fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) results overnight, and then perform FR the next day. Decisions about which to reduce prioritize anomalies, but now can include fetal gender in the decision process, as couples are now just as likely to want girls as boys. In Mendelian cases, sophisticated molecular analyses permit diagnoses before FR, and new uses such as paternity analysis can be performed. Ethical arguments have also evolved; as with many technologies in which the start was for only 'life or death cases', FR has also moved into 'quality of life' issues. FR of twins to a singleton now compromise about 30% of our cases.

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