Twin Boom

Posted on September 2, 2011 by

Apparently there is a marked increase in the numbers of twins being born in this country. As a mother of twins myself, I found the article intriguing even though I knew before I read it what theory would be offered as a reason for the increase. From Slate:

The twin boom can be explained by changes in when and how women are getting pregnant. Demographers have in recent years described a “delayer boom,” in which birth rates have risen among the sort of women—college-educated—who tend to put off starting a family into their mid-30s or beyond. There are now more in this group than ever before: In 1980, just 12.8 percent of women had attained a bachelor’s degree or higher; by 2010, that number had almost tripled, to 37 percent. And women in their mid-30s have multiple births at a higher rate than younger women. A mother who is 35, for example, is four times more likely than a mother who is 20 to give birth to twins. That seems to be on account of her producing more follicle-stimulating hormone, or FSH, which boosts ovulation. The more FSH you have in your bloodstream, the greater your chances of producing more than one egg in each cycle, and having fraternal twins as a result.

Older mothers are more likely to have twins, but they’re also more likely to use in vitro fertilization or other reproductive technologies in order to get pregnant.

Given that I was young (23) and poor when I had my own twins, I knew that sometimes you just get doubly blessed. But it seems as if there was more to it for my family than just good luck:

Black mothers are more likely to have twins than those of any other racial group. It has been known for decades that levels of FSH production differ among subpopulations in the U.S. and overseas. Black women in African countries produce more FSH than anyone else, and they have the highest fraternal twinning rate in the world.

And yes, I realize that this is HBD theory at work. My IQ is still above average. Having twins just may mean I’ll live longer, too. So there.

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