Super Twins

6 year old fraternal quintuplets, Betsy, Padraic, Clare, Aidan, Grace
6 year old fraternal quintuplets, Betsy, Padraic, Clare, Aidan, Grace. Photo reprinted with permission of Bridget.

Most people know that twins are a set of two offspring produced in the same gestation, but they may not be familiar with the term super twins. Although all parents believe that their twins are super, the term super twins is actually a way to classify all higher order multiples with three ore more offspring -- that is any multiples greater than twins. 

The most common type of super twins are triplets, a set of three offspring.

In 2013 (the most recent year for which data is available), there were 4,364 triplet births in the United States. In 2012 (the most recent year for which data is available) there were 204 triplet births in the United Kingdom (England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland). 

But super twins are not just triplets. The term covers all higher order multiple births, like quadruplets (4), quintuplets (5), sextuplets (6), septuplets (7) and octuplets (8). It also refers to even higher numbers of multiples, although an octuplet birth of eight babies are the highest number known to survive. In the United States in 2013, there were 270 quadruplet births and 66 incidences of quintuplets or higher. In the United Kingdom there were 3 super twin births higher than triplets. 

Super twins are very rare. The birth rate for super twins in the United States is 119.5 per 100,000 live births, and 26 per 100,000 for the United Kingdom.

Worldwide statistics are not known. Many incidences of super twins in modern times are the result of reproductive technology, such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) or fertility enhancing drugs.

More Information about Super Twins

Definition: A term referring to higher order multiple birth, when a single pregnancy produces three or more offspring.

Other Spellings: Supertwins

Also Known As: Also known as higher order multiples, or by the numerical designation: Triplets (3), Quadruplets (4), Quintuplets (5), Sextuplets (6), Septuplets (7), Octuplets (8), Nonuplets (9), Decaplets (10)

Examples: Parents of triplets, quadruplets and other super twins are encouraged to visit Raising Multiples, a community for Mothers of Super Twins, a national nonprofit provider of support, education and research on higher-order multiple births.

Some examples of super twins that have received media attention in the last few years include:

The term Super Twins can also refer to:

  • An episode from the television series The Suite Life of Zack and Cody (Season 3, Episode 4 in which Zack and Cody wish on a star and receive super powers.)
  • A television show in the Philippines, based on twin characters named Sha-sha and Tin-Tin
  • A series of books from Scholastic authored by Brian James and Chris Demarest (Supertwins, Supertwins and Tooth Trouble, Supertwins Meet the Dangerous Dino-Robots, Supertwins and the Sneaky Slimy Book Worms)
  • A series of books by Robert Werry (Super-Twins, United  We Stand, Band of Brothers, Real No. 8)
  • Twin cylinder motorcyle drag racing (See National Association of Supertwins website)

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