(NEW YORK) -- As more and more women turn to assisted reproduction -- in vitro fertilization or drug-stimulated ovulation -- to get pregnant, the frequency of multiple births has also risen. A new study conducted by Merck found that multiple births often have more complications and cost more than single births. The new study, published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology found that twin deliveries cost about five times more on average than single births, and multiple births can cost up to 20 times that of a single child.
The study's authors suggest that government action could limit multiple births by limiting the number of multiple embryo transfers in in vitro fertilization.
About 40 percent of twin births and 80 percent of births involving three or more children are believed to be the result of assisted reproduction, the study says.
While limitations on embryo transfers would lessen the frequency of multiple births -- potentially cutting healthcare costs -- it would also give potential parents less control when starting a family.
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