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Resources Centre / Twins Tips Introduction / Twins Tips / Multiple Birth Statistics 2012 (Released 2014)
Multiple Birth Statistics 2012 (Released 2014)
Overview of Multiple Births in the UK

Across the UK, the no. of multiple births continues on a general upward trend although the twinning rate has decreased slightly from 16.1 per 1000 maternities in 2011 to 15.6 in 2012. Overall the rate has increased over time and the highest increase was recorded in England & Wales between 1990-1995 where the rate rose from 11.6 to 14.1, an increase of 22%.



Multiple Births Statistics for the United Kingdom

1984

2004

2005

2010

2012

Total Maternities

726,295

709,316

715,556

806,985

812,970

Twins (Sets)

7,255

10,455

10,533

12,354

12,449

Triplets (Sets)

93

163

159

186

221

Quads+(Sets)

5

5

2

6

5

Total M/Births

7,353

10,623

10,694

12,546

12,675

No. Children

14,809

21,419

21,551

25,674

25,581

Twinning Rate

10.1

14.9

14.9

15.5

15.6
















Maternities %: Twins 98.22% Triplets+ 1.78% Birth Population: 3.15%

Source: Office of National Statistics, General Registry Office Scotland and GRO Northern Ireland (data for 2012 births in the UK)


Twinning Rate

The no. of multiple births per 1000 maternities is known as the twinning rate and generally includes all multiple births (twins, triplets, quads and higher). In the UK, the twinning rate has risen from 9.6 per 1000 births (1980) to 15.6 (2012). In the 28 years from 1984-2012, multiple births increased by 72% and in the last 7 years by 18.5%. Since the introduction of new rules on embryo transfer, triplets have declined although in 2010 there was an unusual increase of 13% on the previous year and in 2012, triplet births increased by 24% on previous year.

IVF and Multiple Pregnancies
In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) accounts for between 20-25% of all twin and triplet pregnancies. This is compared to 1% who conceive naturally. Approximately 11,000 babies are born every year as a result of IVF treatments which has had a significant impact on the numbers of multiple births. In 2009, the HFEA introduced a single embryo transfer policy in an attempt to reduce multiple births to 10%. This policy was withdrawn in January 2014 as multiple births had reduced from 1 in 4 to 1 in 6 whilst success rates remained steady.
Multiple Births by Country

England/Wales

Scotland

N.Ireland

UK

Total Maternities

729,674

58,027

25,269

812,970

Twins (Sets)

11,228

850

371


12,449

Triplets (Sets)

208

7

6


221

Quads+(Sets)

5

0

0


5

Total M/Births

11,441

857

377


12,675



















England and Wales

In England and Wales, there were 723,165 live births. 15.9 out of every 1000 mothers had a multiple birth in 2012, compared with 16.1 in 2011. 11,441 mothers had a multiple birth in 2012 with 11,228 twins, 208 triplets and 5 had quads and above. Women aged 45 were most likely to have a multiple birth and have by far the highest multiple maternity rate in 2012 (115.5 per thousand maternities), increasing 16% since 2011 and also the largest percentage increase in this rate over the period since 1976 where it stood at 9.8 per 1000. In 2012 women under 20 had the lowest multiple maternity rate, only 6.7 per 1000 maternities, but still an increase of 3.1% on the previous year. The largest decrease of 6% to 9.4/1000 was for women aged between 20-24 years.

Scotland & Northern Ireland
In England and Wales, there were 723,165 live births. 15.9 out of every 1000 mothers had a multiple birth in 2012, compared with 16.1 in 2011. Women aged 45 and over had by far the highest multiple maternity rate in 2010 (93.6 per thousand maternities) and also the largest percentage increase in this rate over the previous decade (141 per cent increase). In 2000 the multiple maternity rate for women aged 45 and over was 38.8 per thousand maternities.
Chances of Having Twins, Triplets or More? (Multiple Pregnancy )

In 2012, 1 in every 65 maternities was a multiple pregnancy, or put another way, 1 in every 32 children born is a twin, triplet or quadruplet. Compared to 1984 where 1 in 98 pregnancies resulted in a multiple birth so 1 in every 49 children was a multiple. Your chances of having identical twins is the same as anyone else and is the same across the world at around 1 in 250. However, fraternal twinning is influenced by a number of factors including maternal history (twins do 'run in the family' but only through the maternal genetic line ie/ mother, grandmother etc), maternal age (the older yo are the higher your chances of having twins), race, height and weight and if you have had assisted conception.


Why the Increase?

There has been an upward trend in the number of multiple births over the last 20 years, mainly due to:


Growing birth rate - more births equals more multiple births

Maternal age - 'older' women (30+) as multiple births increase with age

Assisted reproduction - accessibility of IVF, ICSI, fertility drugs etc

Medical advances - more babies now survive even very premature ones


Health Risks of a Multiple Birth

The health risks for both mother and babies are significantly higher in multiple pregnancies and births, with premature labour and low-birth weight being the key concerns. Full term for twins is 37 weeks, triplets 34 weeks and quads 32 weeks but around 50% of twins and 90% of triplets+ will be born early.


For more information on Multiple Birth Statistics and Facts, please visit our Twins Tips.



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