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Rev Assoc Med Bras (1992). 2011 Mar-Apr;57(2):205-10.

Conjoined twins and legal authorization for abortion.

[Article in English, Portuguese]

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology of Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, SP, Brazil.



To describe pregnancies with conjoined twins according to the request for legal termination of pregnancy.


Retrospective review of pregnancies with conjoined twins, with no possibility of extrauterine survival or postnatal surgical separation, observed at a tertiary teaching hospital, between 1998 and 2010.


Amongst 30 cases seen during the study period, six (20.0%) couples decided to continue with the pregnancy, termination of pregnancy was not requested due to advanced gestational age (> 25 weeks) in 5 cases (16.7%). Legal authorization to terminate the pregnancy was requested in 19 (63.3%) cases: permission was granted in 12 (63.2%), denied in five (26.3%) and information was missing in two (10.5%) cases. A successful vaginal delivery was performed in 83.3% of the cases undergoing termination of pregnancy and a cesarean section was performed in all the remaining cases (p < 0.01).


In pregnancies with conjoined twins and without fetal prognosis, legal termination of the pregnancy is an alternative. Moreover, a successful vaginal delivery can be performed in most cases before the third trimester, further reducing maternal risks and parental suffering.

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