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Anembryonic pregnancy - Definition


A blighted ovum, or anembryonic pregnancy, is an ovum inseminated by a spermatozoon, which has attached to the uterus lining as standard, but does not initiate the complex process of cell division required to create an embryo. In other words, the gestational sac is "empty". All the usual signs of pregnancy, such as the absence of periods, are nevertheless present, and only an ultrasound exam can detect the anomaly. The underlying causes are not well understood. The blighted ovum is usually ejected during a miscarriage, but an abortion can be carried out by using medication or curettage, now usually replaced by vacuum aspiration, depending on how advanced the pregnancy is. This phenomenon is quite common, and does not stop those who have experienced it from having children later.