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Pregnancy Bliss | Reproductive Health Hub

Contact Answers In the News Hot Topics

Twins: Is this from the mother or the father?

Question:  Is it the male or female contribution than can determine if it will be twins or not? Sperm or Egg? C.J (USA)

Answer: As you may have seen on our section on multiple pregnancy, there are two broad groups of twins: Identical and non-identical. This basically refers to whether the twins are a result of a split of a fertilized egg (identical) or are resulting from two separate eggs being fertilized by two different sperms (non-identical).

The majority of twins are non-identical. These will only occur when the woman has released more than one egg. It is therefore purely  female determined. There is a known genetic predisposition to non-identical twins and that is why this phenomenon may run in families. However, in most cases, occurrence of twins will be a sporadic event rather than a result of genetic predisposition.

For identical twins, where a single fertilized egg splits to result in two identical embryos, the genetic predisposition is not so clear. There is evidence that, in a few cases at least, genetic predisposition may play a part here as well but to a much smaller extent. There is a very interesting case of identical twins Diane and Darlene Nettemeir who, in 1999 married identical twin brothers Mark and Craig Sanders... Yes, you guessed it: Diane and Craig ended up having a set of identical twins themselves. That does strongly suggest a genetic predisposition.

Minocycline use in pregnancy

Question: I was taking Acnamino which contain Minocycline hydrochloride. Minocycline is one of a group of antibiotics called tetracyclines. I stopped them just over 2wks ago, so is it safe to start trying for a baby, I just want to be sure it’s safe? Thanks. E (UK)

Answer: You are right, Minocycline is a type of Tetracycline and this group of antibiotics should not be used during pregnancy. However, you can be reassured that after two weeks, the drug has definitely been cleared from your system. Drug stay in the body system is measured by what is called a half-life. Each drug is metabolised differently so they all have different ‘half-lives’. The half-life of Minocycline is 11 - 22 hours. This means, after a few days of stopping the drug, there is none in your system. You should be reassured.

Treating a blighted ovum

Question:  I  am  pregnant  9 weeks . But  doctor  told me  you  have  to  do  D&C because  there  is  no  fetal  pole or  heart  beat  of  the  baby. I  don’t  want  to  do  D&C so  please advise  me  the  name  of  medicine  for  bleeding. F (Pakistan)  

Answer: What has been found, presumably on an ultrasound scan, is what is knoBlighted ovum (anembryonic pregnancy)wn as a blighted ovum or anembryonic pregnancy. In this, while the egg is successfully fertilized, for some obscure reason, the baby never develops. A scan will therefore show only clear fluid in an otherwise empty gestational sac.

What your doctor is offering you is what we term as a surgical treatment of the miscarriage (Blighted ovum is classified as a form miscarriage). While you are quite right in saying that there are medical options if you want to avoid a surgical solution, it is important that such medications are prescribed and administered by the doctor treating you. These medicines are safe and effective but they need to be taken under medical supervision.

Conception after a blighted ovum

Question: My daughter had blighted ovum during June but she is unable to conceive for the past 4 months. her period is delayed by 2 to 5 days. What is the problem? Please solve the problem she and her husband have good reproductive parameters. S (India)

Answer:  While your anxiety is understandable, there is most likely no problem at all. We have answered an almost identical question here: Please click to see that answer.

Multiple caesarean section: How safe?

Question: I would like another child but my last four have been caesarean sections. Is it safe to try again?  G.M (UK)

Answer:  Contrary to popular belief, there is no absolute limit on the number of safe caesarean section that is recommended by doctors. However, it is clearly the case that, the more caesarean sections you have, the higher the risk of major complications. These may include such lethal complications as uterine rupture with a high chance of losing the baby. There is also an ever increasing risk of requiring an emergency caesarean hysterectomy (removing the whole womb at the time of caesarean section) as a life-saving measure. The risk to injury to adjacent internal organs such as the urinary bladder and bowel is also potentially increased.

With four caesarean sections behind you, you will be well-advised to discuss your plans before-hand with your obstetrician who will do a thorough review of events and findings at your last caesarean and use the information to advise you on the wisdom or not of embarking upon another pregnancy.

Heavy vaginal bleeding in early pregnancy

Question: can an early pregnancy still be ok even if the bleeding is heavy? K.S (UK)

Answer:  Unfortunately, in most cases of heavy early pregnancy vaginal bleeding, that will be a sign that you are looking at a pregnancy loss. Fetal viability may still be possible in the few cases where the pregnancy started off as a twin pregnancy and miscarriage of one of the twins takes place. The bleeding in such a situation can be substantial but a scan will show a viable (remaining) fetus.

More questions and answers on the next page

Seeing double: Identical twins Mark and Craig Nettemeir who married identical twin sisters Diane and Darlene with their identical twin offsprings

familial identical twins


An empty gestation sac seen in a case of a blighted ovum. This can be managed with medication only