Published online by Cambridge University Press: 21 February 2012
Background: Although the clinical importance of chorionicity in twin pregnancies has been studied widely, the significance of perinatal determination of zygosity using molecular genetic analyses remains controversial. The purpose of this study was to determine the frequency and clinical significance of twin gestations according to zygosity and chorionicity in a Korean population. Methods: We enrolled 569 women who delivered twin newborns (> 24 weeks) at Seoul National University Hospital between 1999 and 2008. Chorionicity was established by histologic examination of placentae. Zygosity was determined with sex of neonates, chorionicity, and DNA analysis of umbilical cord blood. Results: The frequency of dizygotic (DZ) twins was 71.0% (404/569 pairs) based on the opposite sex (238/404 [58.9%]) and DNA analyses (166/404 [41.1%]); that of monozygotic (MZ) twins was 29.0% (165/569), including monochorionic (MC) (72.1% [119/165]) and dichorionic (DC) twins (27.9% [46/165]), which was confirmed by DNA analyses. Among spontaneously conceived twins, the frequency of MZ twins was more than twice that of DZ twins. The risk of low birth weight was 1.8-fold higher among MZDC twins and 1.9-fold higher among MZMC twins than among DZDC twins (p < .05). Bronchopulmonary dysplasia occurred more frequently among MZMC twins than among DZDC twins (adjusted OR 8.42, 95% CI 1.82–39.08, p < .01). However, the frequencies of other neonatal morbidities were not significantly higher in the MZMC group than in the MZDC and DZDC groups. The perinatal mortality rate was 15 per 1000 total births in the DZDC twins, 20 per 1000 total births in the MZDC and 56 per 1000 total births in the MZMC (p < .01). Conclusions: Although monozygosity was shown to be a risk factor for perinatal death and accurate determination of zygosity plays a great role in the future consideration of organ transplantation and twin studies, the value of zygosity determination along with chorionicity in relation to overall neonatal morbidity was not definite.