Researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have what appears to be good news about the “super twin” birth rate in the United States.
The likelihood that a U.S. birth would be a triplet (even higher-order) birth fell 41 percent between a 1998-2000 study period and a 2012-2014 study period, to just 1 in 880 births, from 1 in 515 births.
Parents and onlookers may view the birth of adorable super twins as a joyous event. However most super twins are born prematurely, and the risk of disability and death is much higher than in singleton births. M.S. Lee and other researchers estimated in a paper posted on the Web in March by the academic journal Fertility and Sterility that the cost of a typical triplet live birth in the United States might range from $190,800 to $456,300, compared with a range of about $17,100 to $24,200 for a typical singleton birth.
Researchers concluded that artificial reproductive technology (ART) was leading to a spike in super twin births in the 1990s, and that changes in those techniques, such as a move away from efforts to implant many embryos in the same uterus, could eliminate that spike.
The researchers found evidence that changes in ART practices contributed to the recent sharp drop in the super twin birth rate.
The super twin birth rate for women ages 45 and older, for example, fell to less than 770 per 100,000 live births, from 2,326 per 100,000 during the 1998-2000 study period.
The rate dropped only modestly, to 42.9 per 100,000, from 47.8 per 100,000, for women ages 20 to 24.
The CDC lacked statistically significant data for Alaska, Delaware, Vermont and Wyoming. The super twin birth rate rose in Louisiana and Oklahoma. The rate fell in the other states.
For a look at the seven states with the biggest drops in the super twin birth rate, read on.
Rate per 100,000 total births: 128.9
Change from 1998-2000 to 2012-2014: 51%
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Rate per 100,000 total births: 148.7
Change from 1998-2000 to 2012-2014: 59%
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5. Rhode Island
Rate per 100,000 total births: 129.0%
Change from 1998-2000 to 2012-2014: 60%
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Image: TS/Albert Pegots