Mum's shock confession: 'One of my twins vanished in the womb'

This mum reveals that she experienced Vanishing Twin Syndrome - and it's more common than you think...

January 28 2019

Parents Joe Sim and Janice Tang have revealed how they are coming to terms with the traumatic discovery that one of their twins 'disappeared' in the womb.

But Vanishing Twin Syndrome is a recognised medical condition that shockingly affects about 30 per cent of twin pregnancies 

“Right now, we’ll always wonder whether the other baby was a boy or girl,” says Joe, a senior manager. The couple's child, Jing Yi, is the sole survivor of Janice's twin pregnancy. Jing's twin literally “vanished” in Janice’s womb before the second trimester.



Joe and Janice had been stunned into silence when they originally heard they were expecting twins during their first check-up with the doctor. 

“We were definitely surprised to see two embryos on the ultrasound, but were worried because one of the embryos was smaller than the other. I also experienced regular spotting,” says Janice.

For the next two weeks, Janice tried to “take things easy”. But when she saw the doctor again, and she had an ultrasound, the smaller twin had literally vanished.

The couple grieved the twin they never met and still struggle with the feeling they are "missing" a child. 

“Even though it was very early during the pregnancy, I was extremely sad because I felt like I had lost a child. We had a chance to have twins and that would have been something great and exciting for the family,” says Joe.



Stock image/Getty

Stock image/Getty


But it's more common than you think.

Vanishing Twin Syndrome occurs when twins are seen on an early ultrasound but one of the gestational sacs or fetuses has "disappeared" on a later ultrasound, says Dr. Mark Payson, a reproductive endocrinologist.

The vanishing twin stops developing and is absorbed back into the uterus, which accounts for its apparent disappearance, according to Dr. Payson. It usually happens very early in the pregnancy, before the first ultrasound so many mothers don't know they were even pregnant with twins.

Once you've reached the second trimester, the risk decreases substantially. After 20 weeks gestation, the risk of losing a twin is only about 3 percent.

But it's certainly traumatic for parents who see two heart beats, and then only one.