While twins have become increasingly common in Taiwan due to recent advances in assisted reproductive technologies, a 35-year-old woman who recently gave birth to twins conceived via in vitro fertilization (IVF) still presented an unusual case, as her pregnancy was complicated by her having two uteruses and two vaginas.
Taipei Veterans General Hospital’s Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility Director Li Hsin-yang (李新揚), who delivered the twin girls this year, said the patient only became aware of her condition upon going to an infertility clinic after years of failed attempts to conceive.
“The woman then underwent three artificial inseminations and three IVF sessions, but none led to a successful pregnancy,” Lee said.
Determined to fulfill her dream of becoming a mother, the 35-year-old turned to Lee for help.
“After a series of examinations, I found that the woman’s ovaries produced healthy eggs, but her wombs were not suitable environments for implantation. So I advised her to undergo dilation and curettage, which involves lightly scraping away the uterine lining to improve the chances of embryo implantation,” Lee said.
Lee said he then inserted embryos into the woman’s uteri, with one successfully implanted in each womb.
About one in 3,000 women are born with a double womb, a condition also known as uterus didelphys, he said.
“There are about a dozen cases of women with two uteri giving birth to twins described in medical papers, but they were all conceived naturally. The 35-year-old patient is the first [known case] of a woman with this condition delivering twins conceived through IVF,” Lee said.
The mother said she and her husband had been so frustrated trying to conceive that they had tried to persuade themselves they were not meant to be parents.
“It was Dr Lee who encouraged me not to give up and told me not to blame myself because having two wombs is not a cause of infertility,” the woman said.
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