Did you know that twins might be more common today than at any other time in history?
According to a recent study, the birth rate for identical twins has barely changed. However, researchers found that the rate of naturally conceived, non-identical twins and twins born as a result of medically assisted reproduction had risen globally.
Identical twins are conceived when a fertilized egg spontaneously splits in half. Non-identical (or fraternal) twins are conceived when a woman releases two eggs at once, and both are fertilized.
So, why are more non-identical twins being born?
The main reasons are increased access to hormone treatment, IVF, and other fertility services. The postponement of parenthood has also played a part – the likelihood of having natural, non-identical twins increases with age and peaks in women aged between 35 and 39.
Researchers analyzed records from over 100 countries, and found a significant rise in twin birth rates since the 1980s. Over the past 40 years, the global twin birth rate has risen by one third. One in 42 people is now born a twin, equivalent to 1.6 million children every year!
Across the world, twinning rates have risen from nine to 12 per 1,000 birth since the 1980s, with the picture varying from country to country.
North America saw the biggest rise in twin birth rate, increasing 70% since 1980. The birth rates for triplets and other higher multiples also rose dramatically, but have slowed again since 1998.
Europe and Asia also saw large increases in twin birth rates, as 60% and 32% respectively.
However, the most recent data suggests that some countries have already started to see twin birth rates plateau, or even fall. Rather than seeing the trend accelerate, the authors of the study believe that the world may have reached “peak twin”.
AlphaBiolabs provide a range of DNA testing services, including our popular twin DNA test. To find out whether twins are identical or non-identical, order your twin test online now. We also offer baby gender testing if you’re expecting!
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