Why are twin births exploding around the world?

What a joy to hear your child’s first heartbeat during an ultrasound … Sometimes the ultrasound tool transmits like an echo to the heartbeat, a sign of a twin pregnancy! Two hearts, two babies, twice as many bottles and diapers on arrival!

But also twice as much hugs and tenderness! On average, 12 out of 1,000 pregnancies are twins, and this is the highest rate ever in the world. The twins are much more numerous than in previous years. And there is a scientific explanation for that …

A recent study by researchers from Radboud University in the Netherlands, the University of Oxford in the UK and the French Institute for Demographic Studies tries to explain the reason for this double boom! To conduct this study, they searched the demographic databases of 165 countries between 2010 and 2015.

These data were compared to the same databases from the 1980s. And it seems that this rate is 30% higher! In 1980 there were 9.1 twin births per 1000 inhabitants, today there are 12 per 1000.

“The relative and absolute number of twins in the world is higher than it has ever been since the middle of the 20th century, and this is likely a record high,” explains Oxford University sociologist Christiaan Monden.

How do you explain these twin births?

The researchers believe this is a historical record, even if the dates studied are relatively recent in time. Of the 112 countries studied, only 7 saw a decrease in twin births. In 74 countries the increase is over 10%, in Asia 32% and in North America even 71%!

A historic record! Photo credit: Shutterstock / SciePro

Jeroen Smits, Director of the Global Data Lab and Professor of Economic and Human Development at Radboud University, explains: “In sub-Saharan Africa in particular, many twins will lose their co-twin in the first year of life, around two hundred thousand a year according to our previous research . “”

Scientists explain these numbers by the increased use of assisted reproduction. In fact, doctors in these practices maximize the chances of having a child by, for example, implanting multiple embryos during in vitro fertilization. And, of course, it leads to more frequent multiple pregnancies. However, assisted reproduction techniques are also advancing and now a single embryo can be implanted with the same chances of success.

Another factor could explain these multiplications: the age of the parents! According to an American study, women over 35 are three times more likely to have twins than women under that age!

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