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A Recent Rise in Twin Birthrates and Demographic Changes in Mothers of Twins in South Korea: 2003–2007

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 February 2012

Yoon-Mi Hur*
Affiliation:
Department of Psychology, Chonnam National University, Gwangju, Korea. ymhur@chonnam.ac.kr
Tae-Bok Song
Affiliation:
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Chonnam National University Hospital, Gwangju, Korea.
*
*Address for correspondence: Yoon-Mi Hur, Department of Psychology, Chonnam National University, Gwangju, South Korea.

Abstract

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Using the South Korean national live birth data for the years 2003 to 2007, monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twin birth rates were estimated and analyzed by maternal age, and parents of twins and those of singletons were compared in their level of education. During this period, while the MZ twin birth rate showed no change, the DZ twin birth rate increased up to 9.4 pairs per thousand births. This rate is close to five times as high as the natural DZ twinning rate in the South Korean population. The highest twinning rate occurred among mothers aged 30 to 34 years, followed by mothers aged 25 to 29. These results represented the first evidence for the downward trend in ages of mothers of twins. In each year between 2003 and 2006, percentages of parents who completed college or higher level of education were higher in the twin than in the singleton group, suggesting that the parental socioeconomic level became higher in twins than in singletons. We speculated that these demographic changes occurred because assisted reproductive technology was more easily available among parents of high socioeconomic status. In their sampling strategies, twin researchers should consider our findings of recent changes in demographic characteristics of parents of twins as well as increased DZ twin birth rates.

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