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June 26, 2012

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As number of twins grows, so do troubles

A SURVEY has found that 7.25 percent of local people are willing to take measures such as using fertility drugs to try to have twins, but very few people - as few as 3.3 percent - are fully aware of the risks, experts said.

The survey, conducted by Chinese Medical Association's perinatal medicine branch and Shanghai No. 1 Maternity and Child Health Hospital, is the first in the nation to gauge people's understanding of the risks of having a multiple birth. About 4,000 people in Shanghai participated.

Medical experts who launched the nation's first multiple birth awareness week yesterday said twins have a much higher chance of congenital deformities than single pregnancies.

Due to the abuse of fertility drugs and wider use of in vitro fertilization, the city's likelihood of having twins has risen from the national rate of one in every 90 pregnancies to one in 50 to 60 pregnancies, according to Dr Duan Tao, president of the Shanghai No. 1 Maternity and Child Health Hospital.

"Twins doesn't only mean double happiness, it could also mean double, triple or even much more trouble," he said. "Every month, my hospital admits a dozen of new patients pregnant with twins, who are found to be at high risk or have complication syndromes."

"The chance of abortion, premature delivery and congenital deformity in a multiple pregnancy is far higher than in a single pregnancy ... " Duan said.

Medical experts said caring for twins also can have far different challenges than raising just one child.


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