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Embryonic abnormalities at medical termination of pregnancy

BMJ 1998; 317 doi: (Published 21 November 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;317:1452

Results could be explained by misinterpretation of macroscopic appearances

  1. Michael Jarmulowicz, Consultant histopathologist
  1. Department of Histopathology, Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine, Royal Free Hampstead NHS Trust, London NW3 2QG
  2. Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Liverpool, Liverpool L69 3BX

    EDITOR—I have serious doubts about the validity of the data reported by Blanch et al on embryonic abnormalities at medical termination of pregnancy.1 In my experience, embryos are delicate and can be readily disrupted even during careful handling. Although the authors state that “strict criteria were used to distinguish structural abnormalities from traumatic damage,” they give no details of these criteria and whether they have been generally accepted as distinguishing between trauma and abnormality in delicate embryonic tissue. I believe that it is important to specify in how many cases traumatic damage was seen.

    Although Blanch et al state …

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