More Twins from Older Moms and Fertility Treatments

Family Matters on 04.05.12
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Photo by Jeremy Miles

One baby is a blessing. Two, a double blessing, and double the diapers. A new study has some "oh baby" results: One in 30 babies born in the U.S. these days is a twin. Wow. That's compared to one in every 53 as recently as 1980. 

Remember the 1980s? I have one set of relatives who are twins, born in the 1970s. My old college roommate has twins, too, from the 2000s. My experience says nothing has changed. But ... a report in Earth Sky notes that there has been marked increase in the number of twins out there, sometimes dressed alike, due to more couples opting for fertility treatments and due to women becoming mothers at a later age. You go girl. And girl and girl. 

The 1 in 30 research, from 2009 data, was presented this month at the 14th Congress of the International Society of Twin Studies in Florence, Italy. I know, I missed it too. 

The findings were presented by Barbara Luke of Michigan State University (the alma mater of this writer, his wife --- and our two non-twin daughters if they know what's good for them). 

Luke says the findings are about more than just "gee whiz." Multiple births mean greater health risks, including greater morbidity and mortality risks and higher health care costs, and "continued research is necessary to improve outcomes."

By the way, births for triplets and higher numbers also grew, from one in every 2,702 babies in 1980 to one in every 651 in 2009. 

A Michigan State Twin Registry has more twin factoids and resources. Twin-toids? Such as ...

1. Nigeria holds the world record in multiple births;

2. Some famous twins include: Elvis, Alanis Morisette, John Lovitz and Ed Sullivan;

3. Some famous parents of twins/triplets include: Robert Deniro, George Bush, William Shakespeare, Muhammad Ali, John Engler, Michael J. Fox, Mel Gibson, Ray Romano and Denzel Washington;

4. There are at least 125 million multiples worldwide;

5. Up to 22% of twins are left handed (the non-twin population is just under 10%).

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