A new report released this week from the National Center for Health Statistics indicates that the number of triplets born in the U.S. has dropped 41% from 1998 to 2014. Births of multiples or “higher-order births” (more than three babies) have been a concern for reproductive professionals since the rates began increasing in the 1980’s, considering the toll these pregnancies take on a mother’s body. The changing rates are being attributed to the improving technology and practices in assisted reproductive technologies (ART) to help women conceive.
“There’s been a gradual shift in practices, especially in In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) centers, where there’s an emphasis on high pregnancy rates with fewer embryos and lower multiple births,” says Dr. Bradley Van Voorhis, the president of the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART). “There’s a substantial reduction in the number of embryos transferred due to advances in embryo selection and transfer.” Interestingly, the decrease was not steady across all demographics, with a decrease of 46% for non-Hispanic white women, and down by 15% among Hispanic women and no change among non-Hispanic black women.
Photo Credit: Dan Bock