The number of twins born in the U.S. has grown signficiantly over the last 30 years according to a new CDC report. The reason? Increasing numbers of women waiting to have children until their 30′s and the growing use of fertility treatments.
As of 2009 (the most recent data available), 1 in 30 babies born in the U.S. was a twin. This is an amazing 76% increase from the rate of 1 in 53 babies born in 1980.
According to researchers it is not known why a woman’s age increases her chances of having twins, but women in their early 20′s have only a 2% chance of having twins compared to women in their late 30′s (5%) and women who are 40+ (7%). The older age of women at childbirth accounts for about 1/3 of the increase in the number of twins.
The rest of the increase can be attributed to the growing use of fertility treatments. Women undergoing these treatments, especially older women, are likely to have multiple embryos implanted in order to increase their chances of having a successful pregnancy.
Health experts have some concerns about these findings in that multiples can be more dangerous for the mother and their babies. The babies tend to be born earlier and smaller, requiring more care.
Despite the increased risks, a majority of twins are healthy and do well. And the excitement of new parents of twins is undeniable. Though this excitement may wear off after a few sleepless nights.