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On the Standardisation of the Twinning Rate

  • Johan Fellman (a1) and Aldur W. Eriksson (a2)

Abstract

In many studies the twinning rate, being strongly dependent on maternal age (and parity), has been standardised according to the maternal age distribution. The direct method requires very informative twinning data for the target population. The indirect method is used when the data for the target population is not sufficiently informative or when the target population is small. We have earlier introduced an alternative indirect technique for standardising the twinning rate. Our technique requires even less of the twinning data. Besides maternal age, parity is an influential factor, and should, if possible, be taken into account. In this study we present the traditional standardisation methods based on both maternal age and parity, we propose a new direct standardisation method and we develop our standardisation methods so that they take into account both maternal age and parity. We apply these standardisation methods to data from Finland, 1953–1964, from St. Petersburg, Russia, 1882–92, from Canada 1952–1967, and from Denmark, 1896–1967. These methods all give results very similar to those for the Finnish data, but the effect of parity is strongest with the direct methods. This may be due to the fact that, among extramarital maternities, parity has a strongly increasing effect on the twinning rate. This may be attributed to a higher reproduction capacity among unmarried mothers. Standardisations of the Canadian and the Danish data also give reliable results. With the St. Petersburg data, however, the different standardisations show notable discrepancies. These discrepancies are compared with Allen’s findings.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

*Address for correspondence: Professor Johan Fellman, Folkhälsan Institute of Genetics, Population Genetics Unit, POB 211, FIN-00251 Helsinki, Finland.

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