HEALTH

NJ Has Highest Rate of Twin Births

By Lauren Wanko
Correspondent

The Ryans are having a tea party. Two-year-old twins Emma and Abby are hosting.

“They’re my loves of my life,” said dad Joe Ryan.

The CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics Report indicates New Jersey has the highest rate of twin births in the nation — 43.1 per 1,000 live births.

“We’re very fortunate in New Jersey to have a Legislature and politicians that mandate the insurance companies cover infertility treatments. Only 15 states in the country permit that,” said Dr. Mark Martens.

Which is why more New Jersey women are utilizing in vitro fertilization, says Jersey Shore University Medical Center’s Dr. Martens. It’s how the Ryans conceived their girls.

“In vitro fertilization is what we used to call the test tube babies. Basically we impregnate the ovum, the egg with the sperm, grow it to a certain size — usually about a week’s worth of growth. Then, while it’s still small enough stick it back in the uterus,” Dr. Martens said.

IVF typically costs anywhere between $12,000 and $15,000, says Dr. Martens, and usually takes two to three treatments before a woman becomes pregnant.

“With in vitro fertilization you have the option of putting one, two, three or more embryos in to give you a better chance of having a baby,” he said.

“We were willing to do anything it took to have children,” said Dawn Ryan.

Dawn Ryan says the process was challenging, but she’s grateful it was effective.

What’s it like having twins? “It’s hard having twins, it’s definitely a challenge, but for me and Joe we don’t know any different,” she said.

Dawn had a C-section. The CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics Report indicates New Jersey has a high Cesarean delivery rate compared to many other states — 37.4 percent.

“We try to avoid it, but to be on the cautious side we sometimes have to do that,” Dr. Martens said. “It’s dangerous to sometimes wait on a baby who’s having a lower heart rate and see if the problem fixes itself. It sometimes doesn’t and the best way to get the baby out and make sure is the baby’s safe is have a C-section.”

The report found in 2014 nationwide, there were 743 births to women age 50 and older.

“Now with new medications you can manipulate the hormones and ovaries and we can get people pregnant in their 60s,” Dr. Martens said.

As for teen pregnancies, the report found nationwide the birth rate for 15- to 19-year-olds declined 9 percent from 2013 to 2014. Dr. Martens credits Obamacare. He says teens now have greater access to more effective birth control at low or no cost.

As for the Ryans, they say they feel blessed for their little girls. They can’t imagine life without them.

“The best part for me is when I come home from work and I see them,” Joe said.