Multiple Birth Pregnancies Cost Disproportionately More Than Singletons

TripletsPregnancies resulting in the birth of more than one baby can cost upwards of 20 percent more than singleton births, says a new study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Twin births cost around five times more single births. Triplet births cost almost 20 times more than singletons.

The higher cost of multiple births is significant for health care costs in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), three percent of all births in the US in 2010 were multiple births. Twins accounted for 33.2 per 1,000 live births, triplets or more for 1.4 per 1,000. Reproductive technology such as IVF and ovulation induction largely account for the high percentage of multiple births in the country.

To determine the cost comparisons between births, the researchers examined the data from a cohort of women aged 19 to 45 years who gave birth to one or more baby between 2005 and 2010. Of the 437,924 total births used for the study, 97 percent were singleton births, 2.85 percent were twins, and 0.13 percent were triplets or more.

The researchers looked at medical expenses for the mothers during the 27 weeks before birth and 30 days after. Medical expenses for the babies up to age one were also included. The researchers accounted for compounding factors including co-existing conditions such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, anemia, and reproductive tract conditions.

The total health care costs were around $21,000 for single births, $105,000 for twins, and over $400,000 for triplets or higher order multiples.

Dongmu Zhang, PhD — one of the researchers on the study — explains the cost aspect of the study:

“By taking a broad approach, we have shown that medical expenses attributable to mothers and infants varied according to birth multiplicity.

“For singleton pregnancy, maternal expenses accounted for about 60% of overall cost, whereas for twins or higher-order multiple births, expenses for infant care accounted for about 70% and 85% of total expenses, respectively.”

To lower the health care costs associated with multiple births, the researchers recommend using strategies aimed at minimizing multiple embryo transfers during IVF procedures.


Multiple birth pregnancies can cost 20 times more than singletons:
Multiple births cost disproportionately more than single births:

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