Does Woman Really Have Double Reproductive Organs?

A young couple's dreams of children may be dashed by a bizarre discovery about Emily's reproductive system.

Newlyweds Emily and Shane were excited to start their family. Six months after their wedding Emily became pregnant – sadly, that pregnancy ended in miscarriage. On their second attempt, the couple conceived their son, Porter, who was born prematurely at 31 weeks.

Watch: Managing a Miscarriage Diagnosis

Afterward, Emily decided to donate eggs to help someone else conceive. During her exam, the doctor asked “Did you know that you have two cervices?”

Emily was diagnosed with uterus didelphys – two cervices, two uteri, and two vaginal canals divided by a septum. “It’s not something you can see on the outside,” she explains. “They told me I had a higher chance of miscarriage and preterm labor.”

Emily suffered two more miscarriages before another pregnancy – her fifth – resulted in preterm labor at 29 weeks and the birth of Shane and Emily’s daughter, Kendall. Kendall was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, which can be associated with preterm birth. “It was devastating,” says Emily. “We were thinking we couldn’t do this again.” But the couple had always wanted a large family.

The Doctors sent Emily to Fertility Specialist Dr. Tina Koopersmith for answers about her condition. “25 percent of the time, when someone has repeated miscarriages we find uterine abnormalities,” Dr. Koopersmith explains.

Watch: Conceiving After Miscarriage

Dr. Koopersmith joins The Doctors and Emily to discuss her findings. “A normal uterus is sort of a T,” she tells them, “And she basically has a T with the littlest divot at the top – and then inside that normal-shaped uterus, she has two cavities.” They may be divided by muscle or a septum.

“How does that change things?” ER Physician Dr. Travis Stork wonders. “I think it changes things a lot!” replies Dr. Koopersmith.

Women with an untreated septate uterus have an 80 percent chance of miscarriage. If Emily does have a uterine septum, instead of a muscle dividing the cavities, then Dr. Koopersmith can cut it -- and Emily will have an 80 percent chance of carrying a pregnancy to term. She wants to do another ultrasound or an MRI to see what Emily’s surgical options are.

“I’m feeling hopeful!” says Emily. She’s only 23, and if her condition can be treated her dreams of a large family might become a reality.

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