Loss of a twin either before, or shortly after, birth can profoundly affect surviving twins. Biographies of well known figures, such as science fiction author Philip K. Dick and rock n’ roll star Elvis Presley include references to the missing twin in childhood and adulthood. Joan Woodward has studied such cases, but research in this area is clearly wanting. A timely issue concerns the emotional responses of adult individuals whose co-twins were selectively terminated, following the successful implantation of multiple embryos. I am unaware that such research has been done.The selective termination of multiple embryos (Multi-fetal pregnancy reduction) is relatively new and still uncommon, so we will have to wait a few more years before we have a significant number of adults to ask about their feelings! In the meantime there are 700 million womb twin survivors to interview for research, so that would seem to be a better course of action!
As to research being "wanting" I now have 1300 competed questionnaires including over 900 womb twin survivors with proof of their twin, so maybe it's time to send a copy of Womb Twin Survivors to Professor Segal? Yes, maybe it's time for that.
It does seem that the sole survivors of an identical (monozygotic) twin pregnancy do have a very hard time simply with the whole issue of being here on this planet, alive and alone. We are gradually formulating ways to help and heal, and every time I meet a sole MZ survivor, I have the chance to understand a little more how painful life is for them.Two key findings have emerged from the extant research on twin loss. The first is that identical twins experience the loss somewhat more intensely than fraternal twins, although there is considerable overlap--the loss experience may be just as devastating for some fraternals. There is also evidence of less grief reduction over time for identical than fraternal twins, on average . The second finding is that the loss of a twin is associated with greater grief than the loss of any other relative, with the exception of a spouse.
I am working hard on the 30-step Healing Path book, and I will soon reach the section on MZ twins. I hope that one day when this book is published, that sole MZ twins in particular will find the ideas helpful and healing.