There were 11,505 multiple births in 2011, most were twins, and 172 were triplets. That is one third more than there were in 2010. This very marked rise is due to the fact that 11,000 babies a year are born by IVF, of which 1 in 5 are multiple births compared with 1 in 80 from natural conception.
Almost 50% of babies in the UK are to mothers over 30, and multiple births increase with mother’s age. As a result there are now strict new guidelines for IVF clinics to implant only one embryo for each pregnancy. The reasons for these new guidelines are that multiple births are more expensive for the NHS because of the increased complications. They are also significantly more expensive for the parents, according to recent surveys, one of the reasons being that child benefits are reduced on the second child. The divorce rate is also higher among parents of multiple births. Advice and help to parents with twins may be obtained through the charity TAMBA.
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