Home » » IVF Baby Boom: Multiple Births 'Rise 7 Per Cent in a Decade' as Birth Rate Hits 40-Year High

IVF Baby Boom: Multiple Births 'Rise 7 Per Cent in a Decade' as Birth Rate Hits 40-Year High

The number of women having multiple births due to IVF has risen dramatically in a decade, figures show.

There were 15.7 multiple births per 1,000 women in 2010 - a rise of 6.8 per cent since 2000, according to the Office for National Statistics.

IVF treatment is a major contributor to the multiple pregnancy and multiple birth rate.

This has also led to a woman having an average of two children each - the highest fertility rate since 1973.

On average, one in four IVF pregnancies results in either twins or triplets, compared with one in 80 where the baby is conceived naturally.

Multiple pregnancies, where a woman becomes pregnant with two or more embryos, can cause complications including miscarriage, premature birth, low birth weight, cerebral palsy and death.

A recent study from Birmingham University also found parents of twins or triplets are more likely to separate.

They found almost a third of couples with twins or triplets got divorced, compared with less than a quarter of couples with any number of ‘single-born’ children.

The extra cost of multiple births often leads to financial hardship which can put a strain on marriages, it is claimed.

However, the 2010 figure is slightly lower than the 16.4 multiple births per 1,000 recorded in 2009.

The latest data also revealed the number of women who are giving birth at home is continuing to fall.

Just 2.5 per cent had their baby where they lived compared to 2.7 per cent in 2009 and 2.9 per cent in 2008.

In 1960 a third of all women gave birth in familiar surroundings. The shift away from giving birth at home took place largely between 1963 and 1974, during which time the percentage of women giving birth at home fell from 30 per cent to 4.2 per cent

The latest figures show the South West had the highest percentage of women giving birth at home in 2010 (3.8 per cent) while the North East had the lowest (1.2 per cent).

Government policy in England is for women to be given a choice over where they give birth.

Louise Silverton, deputy general secretary of the Royal College of Midwives, said: 'This continues a disappointing trend and one that we want to see reversed.

'I have no doubt that this fall is related to cost-cutting within the NHS which sees resources pulled out of the community and into the hospitals, all of which is going against this Government’s commitment to bring services closer to home.

'Most women could have a home birth and we need to see maternity services recognising this and putting resources into making it happen.

'It can be done and there are many examples across the UK where it is being done very successfully, if the will is there and the midwives have the support of the people holding the purse strings.

'If finance is an issue, which of course it is, then improving the home birth service will deliver greater choice and satisfaction for women, and will also be a more effective use of resources, keeping women out of hospital where they are more likely to experience interventions such as Caesarean sections.'
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