Formerly, couples had large families because:
- The mortality rate for children was high.
- They needed help working the farm or family business.
- The wouldn't or couldn't prevent pregnancy.
In the late 1960's, the burgeoning world population led to the formation of the Zero Population Growth movement. There was a genuine concern that the population would surpass the Earth's supply of natural resources, resulting in dire consequences. Even in the Catholic stomping grounds of the Kennedy clan, the bumper sticker touting, "Tie Ethel's Tubes!" was an indication of the fervor of the times. (Ethel and Robert Kennedy had eleven children.)
If one was to be a responsible human being, two children would suffice to maintain a stable population level. With the advent of inexpensive, reliable birth control, the Earth seemed to be headed for a rosy future. So what are the factors exacerbating the enormous increase in multiple births?
- If the mother is over 45, the odd of twins increases by 17%.
- If you're Nigerian (They say it's from eating yams.) or live in Massachusetts or Connecticut (It must be the long winters.)
- If you are overweight or tall your odds increase. (Okay, we're a fat nation.)
- Fertility drugs. Sixty percent of triplets, ninety percent of quadruplets and ninety-nine percent of big bunches of babies are all linked to fertility drugs.
The thought of a 400 percent increase in triplets in the last twenty years scares me more than any Stephen King novel.
Please, have a baby. I love babies! Have two or three and keep the gene pool invigorated. Maybe, just maybe, sixteen children is not healthy for the parents, the kids, or the world.