Whether it was because of The Parent Trap or any of the Olsen sisters’ teen movies, there was a time you must have dreamt of all the fun and crazy things you would have done if you had a twin! It is a unique experience growing up with a built-in-best-friend with whom you shared your mother’s womb, but it is also an equally special experience to carry, birth, and raise them. While not all parents of twins planned to have them, there are some parents who actively try and are hopeful to be blessed in twofold. If you’re avid for more information on twins, we gathered the answers to the 7 most commonly asked questions about having them. Keep on reading to find out the answers!
Studies have shown that women with a mother or sister who have had fraternal twins are twice more likely to have fraternal twins themselves. This is because of a gene that promotes hyper-ovulation, which is the tendency of a woman to release more then one egg during ovulation, resulting in more twin pregnancies. Since only women ovulate, a father carrying this gene would not increase their chances for a twin pregnancy, but he may pass on the gene to a daughter and increase hers.
The short answer is yes—all parents have a chance of conceiving twins because family history is only one of many factors that can affect their chances. The longer answer is that at this time, there is still no widely-accepted link between genetics and conceiving identical twins. While there are a number of factors at play when it comes to your odds of having identical twins, genetics does play a role in your odds of having fraternal twins.
Although there is no fool-proof method to increasing your chances of a multiple pregnancy, data has shown that there are certain factors that have shown to be more inclined to it. These factor’s include the woman’s age, weight, height, diet, and family history. Other less accepted factors include having been pregnant previously and having conceived twins in a prior pregnancy.
Carrying more than one baby can significantly increase the chances of pre-mature delivery due to preterm labor, which at times cannot be halted. Health concerns for the mother or the babies, such as preeclampsia, placenta abruption, and placenta previa, are the typical reason to have the twins early. These are addressed as soon as possible since the health risks are likely to worsen the longer the babies stay in the womb.
Let’s face it—if you put two newborns of similar ethnicities together and take a photo, many will be quick to assume they are twins. This why although you may be able to tell if twins are identical or fraternal based on physical attributes, a test comparing their DNA is still the most accurate method. If the twins are male and female, they are fraternal. If the twins are of the same sex, doctors can check via ultrasound or at the time of delivery to infer whether they are identical or fraternal.
Mirror image twins are identical twins whose features appear asymmetrically or as if they were looking into a mirror. These mirrored physical characteristics typically come out in birthmarks, moles, and even fingerprints. Mirror twins may also exhibit functional mirroring. For example, consider their dominant hands. One of the twins may be left-handed, while the other twin is right-handed.
Twin bond or “twintuition” is a special connection between twins where they claim to know or feel when something significant has happened to their other half. While there is no scientific evidence supporting this telepathic connection, twins all over the world seem to have their fair share of stories to prove it.
- Rachel Gurevich, What Are My Chances of Having Twins, July 2020
- Shelly Vaziri Flais, The Difference Between Identical and Fraternal Twins, November 2019
- Pamela Prindle Fierro, Reasons Why Twins and Multiples Are Born Early, August 2019
- Roberta Spiro, What are mirror image twins, October 2015
- American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists, Frequently Asked Questions: Multiple Pregnancy, July 2015
- Chantal Hoekstra, Zhen Zhen Zhao, Cornelius Lambalk, Gonneke Willemsen, Nicholas Martin, Dorret Boomsma, Grant Montgomery, Dizygotic Twinning, Human Reproduction Update, February 2008