Fertility treatment is leading to a rise in the multiple birth rate, especially among women over 45, according to new figures. Data for England and Wales shows there were 10,839 women who gave birth to twins in 2014, while a further 148 gave birth to triplets and two to quads.
The rate of multiple births increased to 16 per 1,000 women giving birth, compared with 15.6 in 2013. Overall, the multiple birth rate has increased since 1976, when there were 9.6 per 1,000 women. Women aged 45 and over had by far the highest rate in 2014 (105.5 per 1,000 births), which has increased by 11 per cent since 2013.
The report, from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), said: “Although most multiple births occur naturally, many occur as a result of fertility treatment.
“The high multiple maternity rate among women aged 45 and over is a result of higher levels of assisted fertility treatments (including medicines which stimulate ovulation and assisted conception which includes IVF) at these ages.”
But it does not have to be this way. With a combination of better embryo culturing techniques, PGS, improved embryo freezing techniques and single embryo transfer especially in older women, the multiple birth rate does not have to be higher because of fertility treatment.