The birth of twins has been a subject of fascination and intrigue throughout history. While some women dream of having twins, others are surprised by the news that they are carrying two babies. The incidence of twin births has been increasing in recent years, and there are many factors that contribute to this trend. In this blog post, we will explore the secrets behind twin conception and unravel the mysteries of why some women give birth to twins while others don’t.
What are Twins?
Twins are two offspring born to the same mother at the same time. Twins can be identical or fraternal. Identical twins are formed when a single fertilized egg splits into two embryos. They have the same genetic makeup and are always of the same sex. Fraternal twins, on the other hand, are formed when two separate eggs are fertilized by two different sperm. They can be of the same or opposite sex and have different genetic makeups.
Factors That Increase the Likelihood of Twin Conception
While the occurrence of twin conception cannot be guaranteed, some factors are known to increase the likelihood of it happening. Here are some of them:
As women age, their chances of having twins increase. This is because, as they approach menopause, the levels of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) increase. This increase in hormone levels may lead to the release of more than one egg per cycle, increasing the chances of twin conception.
Twin conception can also be influenced by genetics. Women who have a family history of twins, especially on the mother’s side, are more likely to have twins themselves. This is because hyperovulation, the release of more than one egg per cycle, is a genetic trait that can be passed down from generation to generation.
Assisted reproductive technology (ART) has increased the chances of twin conception. The use of fertility drugs such as Clomiphene citrate and Gonadotropins can increase the release of more than one egg per cycle, leading to the conception of twins.
Studies have shown that certain ethnic groups have a higher incidence of twin births. African and Hispanic women are more likely to have twins than Caucasian or Asian women.
Height and weight:
A study published in the Journal of Reproductive Medicine found that women with a higher body mass index (BMI) and taller women had a higher likelihood of having twins.
Genetics and Family History:
It is a well-known fact that twins tend to run in families. If someone in your family had twins, then you are more likely to conceive twins as well. However, this is only true for fraternal twins that result from hyper-ovulation. Identical twins occur due to a random event and are not influenced by genetics.
Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART):
Assisted reproductive technology (ART) refers to any fertility treatment that involves the handling of eggs and sperm outside the body. ART procedures like in-vitro fertilization (IVF) and ovulation induction are known to increase the chances of conceiving twins or multiples. This is because multiple embryos are transferred to the uterus during IVF, increasing the chances of twins or multiples. However, doctors usually advise against transferring multiple embryos as it increases the risk of complications.
Older women are more likely to conceive twins as compared to younger women. This is because as women age, their ovaries release more follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), which increases the chances of multiple eggs being released during ovulation. Additionally, older women are more likely to undergo fertility treatments, which increases the chances of conceiving twins or multiples.
Folate is a vitamin B that is essential for a healthy pregnancy. Studies have shown that women who consume high levels of folate before and during pregnancy have an increased chance of conceiving twins. However, this does not mean that women should increase their folate intake without consulting their doctor as too much folate can also be harmful.
Studies have shown that women who are overweight or obese are more likely to conceive twins. This is because obesity is associated with an increase in follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), which increases the chances of hyper-ovulation.
In conclusion, while the chances of conceiving twins are influenced by several factors, some of them are under our control while others are not. It is essential to lead a healthy lifestyle, maintain a healthy weight, and consume a nutritious diet before and during pregnancy to increase the chances of a healthy pregnancy.
However, it is crucial to consult a doctor before making any changes to your lifestyle or diet. Additionally, if you are undergoing fertility treatments, it is important to discuss the risks and benefits of transferring multiple embryos with your doctor to minimize the risk of complications.
- “Twinning.” Human Reproduction Update, Oxford University Press, 25 Mar. 2005, academic.oup.com/humupd/article/11/1/37/638722.
- Martin, Joyce A., et al. “Births: Final Data for 2018.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 10 June 2020, www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr68/nvsr68_13-508.pdf.
- “Twin Births.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 20 Aug. 2019, www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/in-depth/twin-pregnancy/art-20048161.
- Abiola, V O, et al. “Twinning Rates in Nigeria: An Analysis of World Population Data.” Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology: The Journal of the Institute of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Feb. 2007, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17454731/.
- ACOG Practice Bulletin No. 169: Multifetal Gestations: Twin, Triplet, and Higher-Order Multifetal Pregnancies. Obstetrics and Gynecology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, May 2016, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27101123/.
- Zarek, S M, and S R Muasher. “Twinning.” Fertility and Sterility, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Oct. 2012.