Double the giggles, double the grins and double the patter of little feet if you’re blessed with twins. Mums of multiples know just how magical it is to have twins, and now more women than ever are experiencing a double births.
That’s because there’s an official twin-boom on planet Earth.
The number of twins currently on the planet is at a record high, with more twins being born than ever before. New research from Radboud University in the Netherlands, University of Oxford in the UK, and the French Institute for Demographic Studies has revealed almost one in 40 babies is now born a twin.
So why is it happening? There are two main reasons.
Welcome to the age of twinning
University of Oxford researchers say the twin boom is a modern-age phenomenon. And it’s thanks to assisted reproduction and women having babies later in life.
“The number of twins on Earth is now at a record high,” said report lead author Professor Christiaan Monden. “Women are having children later and fertility treatment is becoming more widespread and popular. And because age and MAR (medically assisted techniques) such as IVF and ovulation stimulation are linked with higher numbers of multiple births, these comparatively older mothers are then more likely to have twins.”
He added, “This is important because twin deliveries are associated with higher child mortality and complications for the mother during pregnancy and delivery.”
Most of the increase has been in fraternal, or non-identical twins. These are twins who develop from separate eggs and sperm. The rate of identical twins, which happens when an embryo splits in two, has remained the same.
Global twin increase
There are now 1.6 million twins delivered across the globe every year. Twinning rates have increased in European countries, North America and Asia. But 80 percent of all twin deliveries are now in Asia and Africa. And this is concerning to the researchers.
“In Sub-Saharan Africa, many twins will lose their co-twin in the first year of life. That represents two to three hundred thousand lost twins, each one a personal tragedy. Accurately forecasting the healthcare needs of twins and their mothers depends on having accurate data showing how many twins are being born.”
The research is the first comprehensive global overview of twin births, and aims to help drive better healthcare for mothers.
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