More and more women are giving birth to twins. That's led to a rise in deadly complications during pregnancy. Find out how laser surgery is improving the odds and giving families hope.
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Laser Surgery Saves Twins Melissa Medalie: When three-month old Zoe and Violet Hannings are awake, they don’t stop. But there was a moment early in Jen Hannings pregnancy when her world stood still. During a routine ultrasound at twenty weeks, doctors determined the babies had a dangerous condition. Josh Hannings: Surgery looked like the best option given the options that are available to you. Melissa Medalie: Zoe and Violet shared a single placenta and blood vessels connected the two. Instead of blood flowing equally, Violet was receiving too much blood from Zoe. It’s called Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome or TTTS. The fetal heart muscles start to thicken and valves begin to leak. Michael Bebbington: They can actually go into heart failure and die. Melissa Medalie: During fetal surgery, doctors insert a laser through the mother’s abdomen to seal off the twin-shared blood vessels. Michael Bebbington: What the surgery does is break the connections between the two fetuses and so, the transfusion stops. Melissa Medalie: In at least 90 percent of the surgeries, doctors successfully save one of the babies. 74 percent of the time, both survive. Doctors say the Hannings twins are now healthy and should continue to develop normally. Jen Hannings: I think we’ll just explain what miracles they are to them when they get to be where they can understand that. Melissa Medalie: I’m Melissa Medalie reporting.
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