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Rate of U.S. twin births soar

ATLANTA -- The number of twins born in the United States soared over the past three decades, mostly the result of test-tube treatments and women waiting to have children until their 30s, when the chances of twins increase.

In 2009 one in every 30 babies born was a twin, an astounding increase over the one in 53 rate in 1980, according to a government report issued yesterday.

"When people say it seems like you see more twins nowadays, they're right," said Joyce Martin, an epidemiologist who co-authored the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report.

Some increase had been expected as more women are delaying starting a family until they are over 30. About a third of the increase can be attributed to that, Martin said. The rest of the rise is because of fertility drugs and treatments.

In 2009 twin rates rose in all 50 states, with the highest jumps in lower New England, New Jersey and Hawaii.

Are more twins good news? Some experts say the trend is worrisome, noting that multiple births are more dangerous for the mother and their babies. The infants tend to be born earlier, smaller and weaker, and require much more care. -- AP


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