Being the parents to twin boys, we had plenty of questions at the start of the pregnancy. We’ve explored some of these questions in the past:
- What are the different types of twins?
- How rare are twins?
- Can fraternal twins have different fathers?
- Are twins born early? The average weight of twin births
- What is the average weight twins are born?
- Do twins share the same finger print?
Today we’re looking at how twins are conceived and whether there’s anything you can do to help influence your chances of having twins.
What is the Chance of Having Twins?
Depending on where you live, around 1 in 250 pregnancies are a twin pregnancy. But to make things even more interesting, 1 in 1,000 pregnancies are identical twins with non-identical (fraternal) twins being the more common type of twins.
What Increases Your Chances of Having Twins?
There’s various factors which can increase your change of having twins, we explore these below:
- Race – Interestingly race can also play some part in your chances of having twins with African American women having higher chances of Caucasian women.
- Age – If you’re trying for twins later in life then you might be in luck with women who are aged 35+ having a higher chance of having twins.
- Height and weight – Women that are over the average height (5” 4ft /160cm) and being around 30+ on the body mass index (BMI) can also increase your chances of having twins.
- Family history – Do you have history of twins in the family? The mother reproduces the twin gene through something called hyperovulation where two eggs are released at the same time (we talk about this later in the post). Might be worth asking your parents and grand parents if there’s ever been any history of twins in the family!
- Fertility drugs and assistance programs (IVF) – You often hear that twins are more common now days thanks to IVF and other programs. This is due to the transfer of the embryos during the IVF process. It’s often they will transfer more than one embyro to increase your chances of success. If both embryos implant and develop then you have twins!
Which Parent Carries the Gene of Twins
The mother carries the twin gene through hyperovulation which causes two eggs to release at the same time.
The gene remains dormant in boys however reproduces when they eventually have children who are girls.
Women that have family history of twins have a higher likelihood of hyperovulation occurring which is when two eggs are released at the same time and fertilised by the male’s sperm. All the magic is happening thanks to the mum and this hyperovulation gene that has carried down the family tree.
But you’re probably wondering, if you had twin boys, how do they carry the gene if its reproduced through the mum? Let’s use our family as an example.
As we had twin boys, it’s only when they have children in the future and have a girl that the twin gene will reproduce. It’s when their daughter looks to have children in the future that the gene may become active and she has twins. If they were to have boys, the twin gene would sit dormant until their boys were to have children in the future that end up being girls.
Are Twins Conceived at the Same Time?
In 99% of cases – yes.
In the rare case they aren’t conceived at the same time, this is known as superfetation which occurs when two ova from two different menstrual cycles are released then quickly fertilised and attached to the uterus. So basically, you’re falling pregnant twice.
The reason this is so rare is that once the body is pregnant, it naturally begins releasing hormones which stop ovulation and prevent another egg from releasing thus making it near impossible to conceive another child while pregnant. But with that said, it’s been known to happen where women have conceived twins through this method. Generally doctors are able to tell superfetation has occurred as the twins will be of a different height and weight due to being conceived in different menstrual cycles.
What Should I Eat to Conceive Twins?
According to Healthline, eating certain foods or drinking teas are nothing short of home remedies and do not increase your chances of conceiving twins.
We’d recommend focussing on a healthy diet before planning to conceive and continue this healthy diet throughout the pregnancy and after the birth of the child. You’ll feel better for it and it’ll also encourage strong and healthy growth of your little one.
We hope this article on understanding how twins are conceived has been useful for you. Hopefully by reading this article you now have a better understanding of our twins are conceived. To summarise some of the key points in this article below:
- Family history of twins will drastically increase your chances of having twins
- Race, weight and height can influence your chances of having twins
- IVF through implanting multiple embryos can be one way of getting science to help with the process
- Food and teas are nothing short of home remedies and aren’t believed to help with the process of conceiving twins.
Thanks for reading!
My name’s Alex and I’m a husband, dad to beautiful identical twin boys, cyclist, photographer and connoisseur of great coffee!
Help I’m Having Twins has been created for me to share what I found useful as a new parent and dad to twins.