Parents with twins are more likely to end up divorced, broke and out of work, according to the first national research on the chaos caused by multiple births, the Times of London reported in its Tuesday edition.
This is despite such parents starting out generally better off, older and more likely to be married than those who have their babies one at a time.
The research was conducted by Stephen McKay, Professor of Social Research at the University of Birmingham. It was commissioned by Britain’s Tamba, the Twins and Multiple Births Association, which said it showed that families with multiple births needed more help, such as a grant at the time of the birth to pay for extra equipment.
The research, which tracked 18,500 families, found that married couples were 17 percent more likely to divorce if they had twins or triplets rather than several children with gaps in between.
The impact on family finances is even more pronounced. Two thirds of multiple-birth families said they were significantly financially worse off after their babies were born, compared with 40 percent of other parents.
Nine months after giving birth, mothers of twins and triplets were 20 percent less likely to have returned to work than mothers of single babies, the cost of childcare being largely to blame, the researchers said.
Among lower-income groups, the poorest quarter of families with multiple births lived off £181 ($272) a week compared with £192 ($289) among poor families with single-birth children.
The proportion of multiple births has soared as a result of IVF and women giving birth when they are older, according to the research. One in 65 births now results in twins or triplets compared with one in 100 in 1970.