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Having Twins Cost Five Times More Than Having One Baby

Update Date: Nov 13, 2013 09:21 AM EST
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New parents know that starting a family or expanding one costs a lot of money. Children, regardless of their age, are expensive. A new study compared the costs of having one child in comparison to the costs of having multiple children at one time. Even though it can be obvious that having twins will cost more, the researchers found that the cost difference between one child and two or more is huge. The team reported that the cost of having twins is five times greater than the cost of having one child.

"On average, combined all-cause healthcare expenses for mothers with twins or higher-order multiple births were about five and 20 times more expensive, respectively, than singleton delivery," Dr. Dongmu Zhang, a researcher at Global Health Outcomes at Merck & Co., said in a press release.

The research team found that the cost of having one baby is around $21,000. The costs spike to $105,000 for twins and could end up being over $400,000 for triplets or more. The researchers wanted to compare the costs of having one baby to multiple births because the latter has been on the rise in the U.S. recently. Due to advanced reproductive technologies that help with fertilization, more couples are having multiple births. In 2010, out of all U.S. births, around three percent were multiple deliveries.

The researchers outlined the costs and found that for single deliveries, about 60 percent of the medical costs were related to caring for the mothers. For twins or multiple births, however, around 70 to 85 percent of the costs were due to infant care. The researchers explained that since multiple births usually require C-sections and longer hospitalization stays. Furthermore, multiple babies tend to also need longer stays in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). All of these costs can add up pretty quickly.

In order to conduct this study, the researchers examined a health care database that provided medical information on around 438,000 deliveries. The births took place between January 2005 and September 2010. 97 percent of the births were single ones. For medical expenses, the team added up all of the costs starting at 27 weeks before the due date to one-month post birth.

The study was published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

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