Impact on children's services

Twin and triplet births result in increased pressure on neonatal, paediatric and social services:

  • Because they are born early, 40–60% of twins are admitted to neonatal intensive care when they are born, with over 10% requiring more than 4 weeks care. This is almost a ten-fold increase over the incidence in singletons.
  • Neonatal units have sufficient staff and resources to care for a given number of babies who need special, high dependency or intensive care. Therefore, an unpredictable increase in emergency admissions of multiples, as a result of ART, creates situations which are considered clinically unsafe. In practice, more than 70% of units in the UK have had to close their doors to admissions with emergency transfer of women in labour outside their health authority or catchment area.
  • This further impacts on finite resources, with prioritisation of funding resulting in mothers and babies receiving care in three separate hospitals.
  • The NHS expenditure on one set of IVF triplets in the first year of their lives would equate to the cost of almost 2000 cycles of IVF treatment.