A new study says twin births are increasing rapidly all over the world. According to recent research, nearly 1 in 40 children are born as twins than ever before.“The relative and absolute numbers of twins in the world are higher than they have ever been since the mid-twentieth century, and this is likely to be an all-time high,” Says Christiaan Monden, Professor in Oxford and one of the study’s authors.

A recent study paper, Human reproduction, revealed that more than 1.6 million twins are born every year. The rate of twin births has increased 30% since the 1980s. During the period 1980-1985, there were 9 twin births per 1,000 deliveries. The researchers collected information on twinning rates from 165 countries from 2010-2015 and found that the count increased to twelve twin births per 1,000 deliveries.

What Causes Increased Twin Births

Research says more twins are born because of fertility treatments such as IVF. Women who undergo IVF treatments have twin triplets than women conceived naturally. The chances of normal delivery of twins are around 6%, while twins with IVF reach up to 25%.  In IVF treatment, more than one embryo is transferred. This is done to achieve a better chance of pregnancy success.  

Women giving birth at an older age are more likely to conceive twins. It’s because older women have higher follicle-stimulating hormone levels (FSH) and can produce two eggs per cycle.

Risks of Multiple Pregnancy

“This is important as twin deliveries are associated with higher death rates among babies and children and more complications for mothers and children during pregnancy and during and after delivery,” says Christiaan Monden.

 Preterm labor and delivery- Premature babies are born before the 37th week, and their organs and body are not completely mature. Premature babies weigh less than 5 pounds and find difficulty breathing, eating, and having low immunity.  

 High pressure- Women with multiple fetuses can develop high pressure during pregnancy. High pressure during pregnancy can cause many health complications.

 Birth defects- Multiple pregnancies can cause birth defects like Spina bifida, gastrointestinal and heart problems.

Twin-Twin transmission syndrome- It is a serious condition that affects 10% of identical twins. In this syndrome, one baby gets too little blood, and the other gets too much. TTTS can be treated only through laser fetal surgery

Over three decades, in 74 out of 12 countries, the twin birth rate increased by 10%. Africa tops the list with the highest twin birth rates with 17 twin births per 1,000 deliveries. The researchers said that the number was taken by the birth of “fraternal twins” that developed from two separate fertilized eggs, whereas the identical twins’ “monozygotes” remained the same.