Twins or triplets: is it possible to store the umbilical cord blood of all babies?

Multiple pregnancy is a rare, but not unique phenomenon, and accounts for 0.4-1.6% of all pregnancies. Multiple pregnancy occurs as multi-egg and identical, as a result of multiple pregnancy twins can be born, less often triplets, very rarely more children. The course of pregnancy and delivery during multiple pregnancy is different from single pregnancy, however, modern diagnostic capabilities and approaches to the management of labor allow in most cases to endure and give birth to healthy babies. When babies are born, it is possible to collect the umbilical cord blood and placenta and to preserve valuable stem cells of all born children just like at the birth of one child.

Causes of multiple pregnancy

A multiple (multi-egg) pregnancy develops as a result of the fertilization of two or more mature eggs. A single multiple pregnancy occurs with the development of two or more embryos from one egg. It is a mistake to assume that the majority of multiple pregnancies are the result of the active use of reproductive technologies, in particular IVF, in which usually not one, but at least two embryos are transplanted into the uterus in order to have a better chance of pregnancy. There are natural causes for multiple pregnancy:

– Heredity. Twin or triple pregnancy is more common among those who have already had multiple pregnancies in the family.

– The race. Most often, natural heterogeneous multiple pregnancies are found in African peoples, least often – in Asian ones.

– The age of the mother. The older a pregnant woman becomes pregnant (when it comes to natural conception), the greater the likelihood of multiple pregnancy.

In IVF, we are talking about a multiple-egg multiple pregnancy, since a woman carries embryos from several fertilized eggs in the uterine cavity. A single multiple pregnancy is only natural, its frequency does not change. It is approximately 4 per 1,000 births.

Courtesy of accurate ultrasound diagnostics, it is now possible to determine not only the presence of multiple pregnancy, but also the condition of each of the twins, their blood supply, and possible pathologies. Doctors are especially careful about the condition of women who are pregnant with twins or triples, because their body carries an increased load.

Labor at multiple pregnancy

The delivery tactics for multiple pregnancies is determined by many factors, which can only be assessed by the doctor, taking care of a woman during pregnancy. It is based on national and international protocols, takes into account the state of health of the pregnant woman and the condition of the babies. With multiple pregnancies, delivery by cesarean section is not uncommon. If this is triplet, the operation is likely to be planned, and during pregnancy with twins both a woman and the doctor have to be prepared for an emergency caesarean section, even if a natural birth is planned.

In women who are pregnant with twins or triples, the question often arises whether it is possible to preserve the umbilical cord blood of newborns, as this occurs in case of a single pregnancy. The answer of the experts is yes, it is possible. This is being performed all over the world, the practice of collecting umbilical cord blood and placenta at the birth of twins or triplets is familiar to doctors as well as the collection of other biological materials after the birth of one child. Many families in which the twins were born have already benefited from the opportunity to store and use the stem cells obtained after the birth of babies.

Multiple Pregnancy: Cord Blood Collection

In the third trimester of pregnancy, a woman usually knows that she has more than one baby. A multiple pregnancy implies the same possibilities for collecting and storing perinatal tissues as a single pregnancy. This is good news for families awaiting the birth of twins, since all babies will thus have access to unique biological products in the future that will not be torn off by the body and will come to the rescue in many situations: from serious illnesses to rejuvenation procedures in adulthood. Each woman with multiple pregnancy can sign an agreement with Cryobank for the collection, processing and storage of perinatal tissues. This does not affect the collection of biological materials. Calculate how much it will cost to collect umbilical cord blood, umbilical cord and placenta, or each of these biological materials for multiple pregnancies, using a convenient calculator.

We already wrote that the method of delivery does not affect the  possibility to collect and preserve umbilical cord blood and other perinatal tissues. (LINK TO ARTICLE ABOUT CESARIAN SECTION). If you are planning a cesarean section for multiple pregnancies, consider the preservation of  valuable stem cells in advance. Such a chance is given once, at the time of childbirth. When signing a contract for the collection, processing and storage of perinatal tissues, a specialist from Cryobank will explain you all details about this process during multiple pregnancy, however, the expectant mother should remember several important points.

  • The umbilical cord blood of each twin should be stored. In most cases, twins are from different eggs, which means that the stem cells of one do not fit the other. Give each of the babies a chance to have their own cells with complete immune compatibility in stock.
  • The volume of the umbilical cord blood, collected after the birth of twins, is often lower compared to that in delivery of one child, however it is quite enough for processing, isolation of stem cells and preparation of necessary preparations in the future. According to the scientific literature, although the amount of cord blood collected after the birth of twins is smaller, the stem cell content in it is higher than during a single pregnancy.

Remember that mesenchymal stem cells of the placenta and placenta extract can also be used for relatives of the born children, because placental stem cell preparations do not require immune matching, unlike hematopoietic cells of cord blood. In any case, experts recommend to preserve both the umbilical cord blood and the placenta, because these are biological preparations of various types that have different properties and are used for various diseases.