Letter:Effects of abortion on the lone twin

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The Independent Online
Sir: I am a lone twin and lost my sister in the womb. I know of many other lone twins in my position and we are all testament to the fact that losing a twin in utero is a devastating event that affects the surviving twin deeply throughout its life, even when the survivor is not told that it was a twin ("Doctors defend abortion of twin", 5 August).

The suggestion that the child will resent its mother for causing its twin's death is only half the story, as this assumes that the child will be told about the circumstances of its birth. Even if information about the abortion of its twin is kept from the surviving child, it will nevertheless suffer the severe emotional effects of bereavement. The only difference will be that it will simply not be able to understand or explain why it has those feelings.

There have been many cases of lone twins who have not been told that they were a twin, but who have suffered intense, unexplainable feelings of bereavement and guilt all their life. They finally discover the truth after years of suffering, often when they are in therapy for depression or anxiety without an obvious cause, and only then can they finally begin to make sense of their feelings and come to terms with their loss.

Queen Charlotte's Hospital has, until this year, held the register of the Lone Twin Network, a group comprised of twins who have lost their twin at any point in their lives. I am appalled that the very hospital which has been involved with the Lone Twin Network and research into twins has now taken the decision to create a lone twin by deliberately killing one baby.


Clevedon, Avon