Current concepts of Down syndrome screening tests in assisted reproduction twin pregnancies: Another double trouble

Ron Maymon, Ortal Neeman, Adrian Shulman, Hadar Rosen, Arie Herman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Assisted reproductive technologies (ART) have increased both the number of pregnancies in women beyond the age of 35 and the incidence of multiple pregnancies. Various methods of screening for Down syndrome (DS) were introduced in clinical practice during the last two decades, and specific problems were encountered when they were applied for twin pregnancies. The current review aims to explore the problematic issue of prenatal DS screening in ART twins. Overall, more women with twin pregnancies (mainly those who conceived via assisted reproduction) are found to be false positive for DS. This is because mid-trimester maternal serum screening is associated with a higher false-positive rate secondary to changes in the feto-placental endocrinologic metabolism, reflected mainly in high human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) levels in the ART pregnancies. First-trimester nuchal translucency (NT) measurement in twin pregnancies is not affected by the problems encountered in serum screening. This sonographic screening approach enables a fetus-specific identification of those fetuses at high risk of DS and is associated with a lower false-positive rate than mid-trimester serum screening. DS screening in ART twins presents several challenges in determining the most appropriate screening test modality. Whether there is any significant benefit of adding first-trimester biochemistry or nasal bone scanning in screening ART-conceived twins awaits further investigation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)746-750
Number of pages5
JournalPrenatal Diagnosis
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2005


  • Assisted conception
  • Down syndrome screening
  • Prenatal screening
  • Twin pregnancies


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