Fetal reduction is the process in multiple pregnancies with triplets or more when the development of one or (if preferred) more of the fetuses is ended by stopping the fetal heart from beating by use of medication. The higher the number of fetuses, the higher the risk of premature labor and the rate of premature birth, naturally, increases. This may present risks for the babies and these risks can be vital, occasionally. In such cases with the process of fetal reduction, the number of fetuses is reduced to the healthiest number (regarding the condition), and thus, the chances of having healthier babies are increased.
In IVF treatment, in order to increase the chance to get pregnant, up to 3 embryos can be transferred. While it is possible that none attaches to the uterus and grows, it is also possible that all of them grow in a healthy way. When more than two embryos attach to the uterus, in order to avoid termination of the pregnancy totally, fetal reduction is done. On the 11th week of the pregnancy, with the aid of ultrasound monitoring, the inner part of the excess gestational sac is breached to end the life-form (embryo), which is called fetal reduction.
Research regarding this issue suggests that there is a minor (about 1%) risk of complication in the procedure.
When is the best time for reduction?
The most convenient time for reduction is between the 11th and 13th weeks because anomalies can be easily detected at this time and if there are any embryos with growth related defects, they may already die (naturally) by this time. Reduction at a later stage might leave more dead residual tissue. Thus, the risk of having problems is quite low. Sonraki dönemlerde yapýlcak olan redüksiyon ise geride daha fazla ölü doku býrakacaðýndan sorun çýkma ihtimali çok düþüktür.