Multiple Births on the Rise
Do you ever wonder why it seems that multiple births are on the rise? Under natural conditions, your chance of having a pregnancy with more than one baby is relatively low (approximately a 1.5% chance). However, the number of multiple births has increased dramatically over the past 15 years. Due to the use of fertility drugs and in vitro fertilization and the increase of pregnancies in older moms, who have an increased likelihood of multiple birth pregnancy, multiple births will continue to rise.
Several factors contribute to the development of a multiple pregnancy:
- Heredity: A history of multiple births on a woman’s side of the family increases her chances of having a multiple pregnancy.
- Race: Women of African descent are the most likely to have multiple pregnancies.
- Number of prior pregnancies: Having more than one previous pregnancy, especially a multiple pregnancy, increases the chance of having a multiple pregnancy.
- Delayed childbearing: Older women who get pregnant are more likely to have multiples.
- Infertility treatment: Fertility drugs, which stimulate the ovaries to release multiple eggs, or assisted reproductive technology (ART), which transfers multiple embryos into the womb (such as in vitro fertilization, or IVF), greatly increase a woman’s chance of having a multiple pregnancy.