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J Biosoc Sci. 1997 Apr;29(2):235-43.

Infertility treatment and multiple birth rates in Britain, 1938-94.

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  • 1Unit of Health Care Epidemiology, University of Oxford.


Trends in multiple birth rates are thought to have been substantially affected by subfertility treatments in the last 25 years, but there are few quantitative assessments of this. This paper examines trends in twin and higher multiple birth rates separately in Scotland, England and Wales and compares their course with corresponding multiple birth rates in the Oxford Record Linkage Study area, where the proportions following subfertility treatment are documented. National data on prescriptions for subfertility treatments reinforce the view that they have had a major effect on the trends, and currently perhaps 60% of triplet and higher order births and 15% of twins follow their use in Britain.

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