Multiple births increase in Hawaii - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Multiple births increase in Hawaii

Lani & Maile Wilkinson Lani & Maile Wilkinson
Steph's ultrasound reveals she's having twin boys! Steph's ultrasound reveals she's having twin boys!
Brian & Steve Schatz Brian & Steve Schatz
The Wong Ohana The Wong Ohana
Dennis & Lori Chong-Kee Dennis & Lori Chong-Kee
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Windward Oahu resident Randy Wong says he's never met a family like his.

"My grandma has a set of twin sisters that are identical, four sets of great grandchildren that are also identical and a set of great great grandsons identical on the way," said Wong.

The Wongs aren't the only family in Hawaii with multiple blessings. In fact, you may have been seeing double, even triple more often and it's no coincidence. Multiple births are on the rise in the islands.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, Hawaii is one of 5 states where twin birth rates have gone up by more than 100%. We're also seeing a jump nationally. In 1980, one in every 53 babies was a twin. Today, 1 in every 30 babies born is a twin.

Why the big increase? Statistics show more older women in their 40's are giving birth and more likely to have multiples. More couples are also taking advantage of fertility treatments.

Before Honolulu residents Dennis and Lori Chong-Kee were blessed with twins, they spent $70,000 trying to get pregnant and were emotionally drained from years of failed attempts.

"Pretty much," said Lori Chong-Kee. "We wanted kids badly."

"Doctors would ask us if we wanted to put in 2, 3 or 5? How many embryos do you want to put in and it was a difficult decision for us. Obviously, the more you put in, the better chance you have, but at some point that's pretty risky to end up with 5 kids at once," said Dennis Chong-Kee.

According to the State Department of Health, four is the most babies born at one time in Hawaii from fertility treatments. The first Hawaii quadruplets arrived at Tripler Army Medical Center in 1980. Since then, there have been 5 more sets, with the latest born in 2009.

To keep that number down, there are strict guidelines on how many embryos should be transferred based on the woman's age, health and other factors.

"The whole goal of IVF is to have one healthy child at a time," said Dr. Benton Chun of IVF Hawaii.

My husband and I are expecting twins and while these are exciting times, carrying multiples comes with risks. The biggest risk is pre-term labor. Our twins are monitored regularly through ultrasounds and it looks like our son won't be the only boy in the house! We just found out we are expecting twin boys.

To see how large the multiple community really is in Hawaii, check out our slideshow of pictures of local twins and triplets HERE.

See eye-opening stories about twins in Hawaii HERE.

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