Double Trouble? Rise of Twin Births Concerns Physicians
If you think you’re seeing double, you’re probably right.
Twins are on the rise and this growing trend is causing concern amongst those in the medical community. According to many physicians, the increase in twin births may indeed put the birth mothers in danger - a form of “double-birth jeopardy,” if you will.
The most recent numbers indicate that 1 in every 30 births in the United States are twin deliveries. A new report from the Centers for Disease Control indicates that since 1980, the twin birth rate has risen 76 per cent. What’s behind this marked spike in multiple births?
One factor is the age of pregnancy and delivery. It’s widely known that twins are more likely to be born to older moms, regardless of whether reproductive technology was a factor in conception. The fact that women are now waiting longer to give birth than they ever did before is a likely explanation for some of the more recent twin births. While age is indeed a factor as to whether a mother will bear a singleton or more than one child, experts say that it is largely assisted reproductive technology and fertility drugs that actually accounts for the majority of multiple births.
“In vitro [in vitro fertilization, or IVF] is becoming increasingly successful,” says Dr. Cynthia Katz. Despite this fact, potential parents who choose this form of help in conceiving often push for as many embryos to be implanted as possible. This is usually in order to assure successful fertilization of at least one embryo as the cost of IVF is extremely high, making more than one round of this treatment prohibitive to many. Three embryos is usually the maximum amount suggested by medical professionals. Because the process has been refined over the years, the success rate is higher, often resulting in at least two births – twins – and sometimes more (triplets). Unfortunately, the unintended consequences of delivering more than one baby at a time includes low birth weights and pre-term births.Continued on the next page