Not Cheaper by the Dozen
For decades, television has been trying to convince us that the more children you have, the more wacky hijinks will ensue, but when it comes to the cost of multiple births, you’ll only laugh so that you may not cry. Though it is to be expected that two, three or more children will lead to more expenses along the way, research published recently in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology estimates that multiple births can be 20 times costlier than single births, both during the first year and the pregnancy itself.
After assessing information on more than 430,000 births from the Truven Health MarketScan Commercial Claims and Encounters Database, Dr. Dongmu Zhang and his fellow researchers at Global Health Outcomes, Merck & Co determined that the cost of health care for a single birth is $21,000. Already rushing to the conclusion that twins double that cost? Not so fast; twins actually cost $105,000, while triplets come to $400,000. It’s no wonder that individuals who lack any actual skills except for an unbridled fertility are so willing to showcase their gazillion-plets on worldwide television like some many sideshow freaks in exchange for an easy buck. Not that there is ever any justification for such unscrupulous behavior.
According to Dr. Zhang, the additional expenditure is related to the higher morbidity rate inherent to multiple births, which involve more cesarean sections, longer hospital stays, and increased neonatal intensive care unit admissions. Furthermore, mothers of twins or multiplets are more likely to have pre-existing conditions, and more prone to developing them during pregnancy as well, including hypertension, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, edema/renal disease, genitourinary infection, thyroid disease, anemia, and conditions in the reproductive tract.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Twin births have risen 76% since 1980, partly due to the development of in vitro fertilization (IVF) and other reproductive technologies, although 60% of twin births are still natural. The difference is that IFV parents are aware that they may have multiple children, while those who conceive naturally are usually shooting for a single child. Thus, the higher costs may be deemed to be unfair for the latter. And though it is understood that were it not for IFV many couples wouldn’t be able to have children, do we really need or want another Octomom?
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