Dozens of unborn babies were aborted in 2010 by women expecting multiple births but who wanted fewer children, it has been reported.
Department of Health statistics found that more than 100 babies were terminated by women expecting twins, triplets or quintuplets, the Daily Telegraph said.
The statistics, released under the freedom of information law, revealed that in 2010, 85 women aborted at least one foetus while going on to give birth to another baby. This compares to 59 women in 2006.
Of the 85 women undergoing selective reductions last year, 51 were reducing a pregnancy from twins to a single baby, up from 30 four years before.
The data showed that there were 20 abortions to reduce triplets to twins and nine procedures to take a pregnancy from triplets to a single child.
Three mothers reduced four foetuses to two, and two mothers reduced five babies to two.
The Department of Health said 78% of the selective reductions performed in 2010 were because there was "a substantial risk that if a child were born it would suffer from such physical or mental abnormalities as to be seriously handicapped".
Professor Richard Fleming, the scientific director of the Glasgow Centre for Reproductive Medicine, told the newspaper: "I would be surprised if multiple pregnancy through fertility treatment was not a significant component to the increase in selective reductions.
"One of the components within that is the health of the mother and health of the offspring as well - both are compromised by multiple pregnancy. The more complicated multiple pregnancies lie almost exclusively in the IVF domain.
"It's a horrible decision to make but a very sensible one."
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