18 Facts

  1.  4.5 million twin individuals live in the United States today or about 2 percent of the general population.
  2. An additional 90,000 sets (180,000 individuals) are born each year.
  3. Twins (and other multiple births) are on the rise. There were 33 percent more in 1988 than in 1978.
  4. Prematurity is a major reason multiples have a higher rate of birth defects and neonatal death.
  5. Some thirty percent of multiples are born six weeks premature, or before 30 weeks of gestation.  This figure is 10 times higher than their proportion in the population at large.
  6. Twins perinatal mortality rate is 5 times greater than babies born singly.
  7. Twins and other multiples represent  nearly 20 percent of extremely low birth weight infants.
  8. Nearly 25 percent of the twins born today are not expected until days or moments before their births.
  9.  For the second-born twin the mortality rate at birth and within the first month of life is twice that of the first born.
  10. As a group twin individuals are at a higher than average risk for abuse (more than 9 times as often as the single child), neglect, physical disabilities, difficulties with speech and language development and social and emotional maladjustments.
  11. Families who have multiple birth babies are themselves high psycho-social risk families. Coping with the stress of caring for them is one of the biggest challenges any family can face in the nineties. Divorce and abandonment of the mother and children is common. Other tragedies recently reported: two sets of twins died when their parents were unable to get them medical treatment in time. Worse yet, twice in the last year parents murdered their newborn twins, testifying they were overwhelmed by stress and sleep deprivation brought on by the care of the babies.
  12. As American women put off their pregnancies until past their 30th birthday they are increasing their chances of having multiples.
  13. A woman’s chances of having twins is approximately one in 90 in the United States. Of these, one third are identical, one third are same-sex fraternals and one third are opposite-sex fraternals.
  14. Twin pregnancies in teenage mothers are extremely high risk due to maternal age and physiological development and their twins die approximately 20 percent of the time.
  15. The use of fertility drugs, the increased use of in-vitro fertilization, and the use of contraceptive pills all influence the rise in the rate of multiple births.
  16. More than 50 percent of the parents of multiples seeking help are low income or unemployed  and 80 percent are members of racial and ethnic minorities.
  17. Twins are invaluable for demonstrating genetic and environmental factors in diseases such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimers, AIDS and more.
  18. Twin studies help all mankind!
Updated: April 16, 2014 — 7:49 pm
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