Dawn of Twins in hurried city

If the '40s to '60s was known for the baby boom, this decade will be for a twin boom. Doctors say that the the city is witnessing a five-fold increase in twin births this decade, while the country is witnessing a ten-fold increase. City hospitals peg the rise in twin births in the last one year to be between 25-35 per cent.

While twin births were previously considered to be genetic or hereditary, infertility treatment has changed that reasoning. According to Dr Chandan M, senior and chief embryologist at Motherhood Hospitals, ten years ago, the rate of infertility was 35-40 per cent, which has now gone up to 40-45 per cent, the main reason being rising stress levels and an unhealthy lifestyle among techies in particular, he says.

While 22-28 years is the 'right time' to have children, Dr Chandan points out that with women delaying marriage beyond 30, and pregnancy to 35, many couples face infertility. "In addition, a number of women are also suffering from Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOD)." At 35, the quality of the oocyte gradually decreases, and when they start the treatment, the drugs result in multiple eggs thereby increasing the chances of pregnancy, which may even result in twins. "If a couple is undergoing infertility treatment, there is a 25-30 per cent chance of conceiving twins," he says.

Female infertility gone up to 50 %, in males to 40 %Agrees Dr Nirmala Chandrashekhar, consultant Obstetrics, gynaecology and Gynaec Oncology at BGS Gleneagles Global Hospitals, who says that during IVF the multiple ovulation technique is done wherein three healthy embryos are transferred in the hope that at least two will survive. "The drugs, which are used in high amounts, increase the rate of twinning enormously. While some increase the chances of conceiving twins to 60 per cent, some even raise it to 80 per cent," she says.

While one in every 80 births used to be twins previously, with treatment rampant, Dr Nirmala says that today 60 per cent of incidence is of twins. "In the last five years, infertility has gone up to 50 per cent in females and 40 per cent in males. This is because of a lifestyle with long working hours and high stress. Women are conceiving even at 40. On the other hand, couples as young as 25 come in for treatment," she says.

Want to 'finish off at one go'
A day after his wedding, *Prateek Raj* (name changed) and his wife were at the gynaecologist to start a family.The couple, in the hope of migrating to a foreign country, had "heard" that the immigration process would be speeded up if they had kids. "So, even though we didn't face any medical issues, we wanted to undergo treatment so that it would help us emigrate," says the father of twins on condition of anonymity.

And this is what Dr Prathima Reddy, director of Fortis La Femme, Bangalore, often comes across even as recent as last week where the couple opted for IVF just so that they could have twins and finish off having two children at one go. "I told them this is not a shop, it's Nature and we can't have these demands," says the senior obstetrician and gynaecologist, adding that the risk is a high chance of premature births.

"There are couples as young as 25 who want to start on the treatment because they don't want to wait," says the senior doctor who adds that there is a five-fold increase in number of twins in the last 10 years, which only points to the gradual increase shows that people are going in for artificial techniques. "It's not restricted to the city, it's happening across the country," she adds.

'IVF not being done correctly'
Dr Kamini Rao, renowned infertility specialist and director of Milann IVF Centre feels that the reason for this trend is the burgeoning of centres in the state who are not going about the technique in the way they should. At those, the senior doctor says, 3-4 embryo are transferred in the hope that one of them will get implanted. "Too many embryo in uterus can result in high-order pregnancies. This is noted to be a complication of IVF. The true success of IVF is a single embryo transfer resulting in a singleton pregnancy," she says.

Figures speak
Rate of infertility was 35-40 per cent, now gone up to 40-45 per centAmong couples undergoing infertility treatment, there is a 25 -30 per cent chance of conceiving twinsCouples as young as 25 going in for infertility treatment While some drugs increase the chances of twins to 60 per cent, it can even go up to 80 per cent.