Everything Better in Pairs: Twin Births Double for Women over 30

One in every 30 babies is born with a twin, an all-time high that is almost double the birthrate of twins in the 70s and 80s, according to a study by the Center of Disease Control. 

Twin births among every ethnicity have jumped, including the African-American community, which have always had many twins.

The study cites age, not ethnicity, as a major factor contributing to twin births. Women over 30 have given birth to many more twins in recent years.

Take, for example, the case of Linda Sutton, a mother who, at 36, gave birth to fraternal twin daughters, DeMera and Trameara Payne. That was in the 1990s.

“At first, the doctor was hesitant about telling her she was having twins because he knew at her age how shocked she would be,” said DeMera Payne, a senior psychology student from Ft Lauderdale, Fla., the elder of the pair.

Thirty years ago, one in every 53 babies in the United States was born a twin. From 1980 to 2009, the rate of twin births has risen 76 percent.

Twin birth rates have “skyrocketed for older women,” according to USA Today’s Sharon Jayson, citing the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) findings that among women 35-39, rates rose by nearly 100 percent, and for those 40 and over, rates increased more than 200 percent .

Studies done in the past have proven that twins are more likely to be born to older moms. Therefore, the fact that women are now waiting longer to have babies might play a role in the increasing number of twins being born. Many scientist believe age leads to more fraternal twins being born. They couldn’t say how the incidence of fraternal and identical twins were connected.

Kanya Olivier, a junior economics student, and her sister, Ebony Olivier, a senior psychology student at FSU, are also 90’s twins. However, unlike the Paynes, the Oliviers are identical twins.

“We come from a family of twins,” said Kanya. “My uncles are twins; I have twin cousins; there have been twins in almost every generation.”

Genetics and age are without a doubt factors as to whether a mother has one child, or multiples, but they are not the only factors that must be considered. According to the CDC, reproductive technology and fertility drugs played a major role in the increased number of multiple births in the past three decades.

Roughly two-thirds of the increase in the rate of twin births is attributable to the increased use of fertility treatments, which became more common in the 1980s through 1990s. Treatments such as in vitro fertilization and ovulation stimulation played a major role in the number of children women had.

The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) researchers say that the rate of twin births is still increasing every year, nevertheless the annual increase has slowed since 2005.

So while the twin birth rate remains at an all time high, it’s likely to level out in the future.