So there are some amongst us who want to know how to increase the chances of having twins! I have triplets and to be honest, would have preferred to have had one at a time, or perhaps twins rather than triplets. Medical experts think that twins are more common than we think but that by the time the first scan is performed, there is only one fetus developing.
How Are Twins Made?
There are two types of twins – 1/3rd are Identical Twins and 2/3rd are Non- Identical Twins and depending on how the twins are made will define whether they are identical or non identical. Even if they are non identical, there is a high chance that they will look similar and of course non identical twins can be different sexes whilst identical twins will be the same sex. You will be surprised the idiotic questions some moms of identical or non identical twins get asked about whether theyre identical when clearly they are a boy and a girl !
Identical Twins – Monozygotic
Identical twins are made when one egg is released and this is fertilised by one sperm creating one embryo but during the process of cell multiplication, the embryo splits completely into two separate embryos. These two embryos will have the same genetic make up. They may or may not share a placenta depending on when the separation occurs. If the split occurs within a few days of conception, the fetuses will have their own placenta and amniotic sac but within the same chorionic sac, but if the separation occurs days later, the fetuses may have the same placenta but different amniotic sacs, within the same chorionic sac, or even be in the same amniotic sac and chorionic sac. If separation occurs even later, there is a risk of having conjoined twins.
1% of identical twins will share a placenta and amniotic sac – these are called mono-amniotic and these are twins that will have the highest level of monitoring during the pregnancy due to the high risk of complications such as cord twisting, twin to twin transfusion syndrome where their blood vessels are connecting. This is the most serious condition for identical twins to be in and frequently leads to pregnancy loss.
The chances of an egg splitting is low, it is not affected by anything so there is nothing you can do to increase the chances of having identical twins.
Non Identical Twins – Dizygotic
Non identical twins are made when two eggs are released and fertilised by two sperm. They will have their own genetic composition and own placenta. These are the most common and the most likely if having IVF. Clearly it is possible to have identical twins with IVF if one of the eggs splits completely and some times cases have happened where there are triplets, having had two eggs replaced and one has divided creating a set of identical twins and a separate egg. It is rare though !
Can You Increase Your Chances?? Really??
There are certain factors that will increase your chances of having non identical twins. However having said that, its still fairly unlikely but have a read and see if you think you can affect your chances !
- Family History – I think everyone knows about this one, but beware…. for it to be a risk factor it has to be a history of twins in the maternal family. There needs to be 2 eggs released to achieve twins and as it is impossible to predict identical twins as there are no factors that can influence that, within the mothers family, there could be a familial history of two eggs being released in one month leading to non identical twins.
- Lifestyle – There is a slight increase in the number of twins in women who drink full fat milk, eat steak, come off the contraceptive pill… All these factors can possibly alter the hormonal balance which might lead the body to release two eggs in one month.
- Maternal Age – When a woman is in her 30’s and 40’s, her ovarian function will start to change, and as she reaches the end of her fertile phase of life, there is a higher chance of releasing 2 eggs.
- In Western Europe there is a 1:60 ratio of twins, whilst that is more rare in Asia but in Nigeria there is a much higher incidence of twins, in as much as every 20-30 pregnancies.
- Fertility Treatment naturally increases the number of fertilised embryos implanted into the uterus which will automatically lead to the chances of twins.
- Number of Children – Of course the more times you try for a pregnancy the more chances you have of having twins… makes sense but also if you are successfully getting pregnant, you can see it could easily be that one month, two eggs are released.
- Body Type- It also seems that larger, taller women are more likely to have twins than smaller women. This is to do with insulin-like growth factor (IGF) which is higher in taller women, it increases the sensitivity of the ovary and this can lead to 2 eggs being released.
So there are certain factors that increase the chances of having non identical twins but realistically there is only really Fertility Treatment that will more than statistically increase your chances of having twins, and that is rather an extreme length to go to just to have twins if you are capable of ovulating and achieving a pregnancy yourself. Possibly it is better to leave nature to itself and welcome one or twin babies, whichever come, healthy and happy! And take it from me, having more than one baby at once is tremendously hard work and having more than one baby at a time takes its toll in ways that you cant imagine. Life is never the same again and whilst you try to give two or three babies all they need both physically and mentally for their wellbeing something has to give and whilst trying to manage all their needs, mom and dad can sometimes get forgotten.
Do you have any comments about my article, or maybe stories about your personal history with twins, please scroll down and add your comments, I would love to hear them !
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