Having just one baby isn’t cheap, at about $21,000, but giving birth to twins can cost $105,000 and triplets and more a whopping $400,000 and up.
A new study shows the growing healthcare costs of birthing multiples, which is becoming more common with the proliferation of reproductive technology, and calls for strategies to reduce the economic burden. The cost findings are published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.
Multiple pregnancies are increasing around the world with the increased use of ovulation induction and in vitro fertilization. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that 3 percent of all infants born in the U.S. in 2010 were multiple deliveries.
Researchers looked at women who gave birth between January 2005 and September 2010 and included all medical expenses during the 27 weeks before and up to 30 days after the delivery date. They also included all health care costs for infants up to their first birthday.
"By taking a broad approach, we have shown that medical expenses attributable to mothers and infants varied according to birth multiplicity," said lead investigator Dongmu Zhang, PhD, Global Health Outcomes, Merck & Co. in a press release. "For singleton pregnancy, maternal expenses accounted for about 60% of overall cost. Whereas for twins or higher-order multiple births, expenses for infant care accounted for about 70% and 85% of total expenses, respectively."
They looked at other co-existing conditions including hypertension, diabetes, and anemia. Women with twins or more were more likely to have co-existing conditions and had longer hospital stays for delivery.
Increased use of cesarean section, longer hospital stays, and increased admission in NICU for babies accounted for greater expenses in multiples. Researchers recommend finding strategies that minimize multiple embryo transfer that comes with in vitro fertilization to reduce the burden associated with multiple pregnancies.