Exponential Rise in Twin Birth Rates Worldwide

More twins are being born now than ever before. In this article, we'll talk about the probable causes of this exponential growth.
Exponential Rise in Twin Birth Rates Worldwide

Last update: 12 May, 2021

Twin births are usually seen as miracles, because they’re not very common. However, over the past few years, this situation has changed drastically. In fact, twin birth rates have risen globally by a third since the 1980s. 

Because of this, scientists from around the world have been trying to find answers to this situation. Statistically speaking, there are approximately 1.6 million twin births per year. This becomes more interesting when looked at like this: 1 in every 42 children born are twins.

The different studies state that there’s a direct relationship between this exponential growth and assisted reproduction. According to Human Reproduction, in Asia, twin births have risen by 32% since the 1980s. What’s more, in the USA the rate climbs to 71%.

Scientific explanations for the exponential rise in twin birth rates

Exponential Rise in Twin Birth Rates

A research study from the authors Christiaan Monden, Gilles Pison and Geroen Smits, called Twin Peaks: More Twinning in Humans than Ever Before, explains the exponential rise in twin birth rates.

However, before we continue, we’d like to point out that 80% of twin births in the world occur in Africa and Asia. 

The first cause that comes to our minds when talking about the rise in twin birth rates is that the entire world population is growing in number. However, there are other reasons we’ll explain next.

According to a BBC report, Christiaan Monden said: “The vast majority of the increase in twinning rates was due to high numbers of dizygotic or non-identical twins, twins born from separate eggs. This was especially true in Africa, and it’s most likely due to genetic differences between African populations and other populations.” 

Fertility treatments

Apart from genetic factors, fertility treatments play a significant role in the increase in twin birth rates. This has had a bigger impact in continents like Oceania, North America and Europe.

The following are the most common fertility treatments used nowadays:

  • Artificial insemination.
  • In vitro fertilization.
  • Sperm microinjection.
  • Ovulation induction.

As you probably know, chances of having twins are bigger when these treatments are carried out. On the other hand, this research showed that two main factors accelerate the use of these procedures: fertility problems or the decision of having children later in life

What will happen in the future with twin births?

Exponential Rise in Twin Birth Rates

Even though, there’s been an increase in twin birth rates, the number of twins being born in the world has reached a peak. This is because scientists are working on fertility treatments that would result in only one child per pregnancy. Therefore, if they manage to perfect these treatments, twin birth rates should start decreasing.

Also worth noting is that twin births haven’t reached alarming rates because they represent high-risk pregnancies. And, when this occurs in families with limited resources, there’s a tendency to pregnancy loss. 

Jeroen Smits stated: “While twinning rates in many rich Western countries are now getting close to those in Sub-Saharan Africa, there’s a huge difference in the survival chances.”

The most shocking example is what happens in countries that don’t border the Mediterranean. In these areas, approximately 200 thousand twins lose their lives every year.

All in all, having twins is an amazing experience for every mother, as long as the necessary conditions are given to reduce all possible risk factors.

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