what are my chances of having twins?

Are you one of those few who want happiness in doubles or maybe triples? What are the chances for it? Looking for an answer, here it is!

How do multiples (Twins) take birth?

One is when a fertilized egg splits into two or more before it implants itself in the uterine lining; another is when different sperms fertilize two or more separate eggs at a time. These are called multiple pregnancies, and both the above conditions result in two different types of twins.

Identical twins, also known as monozygotic, are born out of one single egg. Dizygotic or fraternal are born from separate eggs and different sperms. As the name suggests, identical twins have identical features and are same-sex as they share the same dna, unlike fraternal twins.

Fraternal twins have different genetic material due to which they do not look similar also may be of varying sex i,e. It can be two boys, two girls, or a boy and a girl. The chances of having identical twins is rather rare, around 3-4 of every 1000 births, So if your body releases multiple eggs or splits, chances are you going to have twins, triplets, or maybe more. Triplets are born when you release multiple eggs or release two eggs, among which one splits, producing two identical and fraternal twins. Similar are cases for quadruplets or more.

What increases the chances of multiple pregnancies?

Several factors increase the chance of having multiple births:

1. Age matters:

It is believed that women in their 30’s or older have a higher chance of having twins as after such age, their body releases multiple eggs. Hormonal changes as you near menopause encourages the body to release more than one egg during ovulation.

2. If twins run in your family:

the hereditary trait of having twins is generally passed through the mother’s side of the family. So if multiples run in your family, chances are you’ll give birth to multiples. The reason for this may be hyperovulation, a situation in which your body releases multiple eggs during ovulation, and this trait can be passed down in your DNA from your mother’s or father’s side though rare. Hyperovulation increases the chances of conceiving fraternal twins.

3. If you are a twin:

The odds of having twins increases if you are a multiple yourself, as may you have genetic material in you, the gene for hyperovulation. The chances of twins might be as huge as 1 in 17 if the mother is a fraternal twin.

4. By using fertility treatments:

if you have heard of terms such as artificial reproductive technology (ART), in vitro fertilization (IVF), and intrauterine insemination (IUI). While the procedure doesn’t increase your chances of having twins, certain drugs associated with it might, for instance, Clomiphene citrate (Clomid) and letrozole (Femara) are ovulation-stimulating medications.

Both of these drugs are often given in IUI cycles and help the body produce multiple eggs that may be released simultaneously. Gonadotropins, a follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), to stimulate the growth of egg follicles, is an injectable medication often used in IUI and other fertility treatments, and the rate of twins while using these medications is around 30%.

What are the complications of multiple pregnancy?

While IUI is mostly about drugs, IVF is more of a transfer. It is a fertility treatment that involves transferring one or more fertilized eggs into your womb. Multiple eggs are moved to increase the odds of a successful pregnancy. Typically, couples diagnosed with infertility use these procedures, meaning couples who are not getting pregnant with timed intercourse in a year or women over 35 are having trouble getting pregnant.

It’s best to consult a healthcare specialist regarding such treatments to understand the pros and cons. Researchers estimated that chances of having twins after fertility-enhancing treatment are as high as 1 in 38. It has also been estimated that couples using the drug ‘clomid’ show 6-7.4% chances of having twins. The rate of twin pregnancies with IVF with fresh embryos is 12.1%.

5. From where your genes belong too:

studies show that Michigan and Connecticut have the highest twin birth rates in the U.S, around 35.9 and 36.4 per 1000 births. Nigeria, an African country, is known for the world’s highest twinning rate at 19 per 1000 births. Some believe that this is due to the heavy consumption of yams. So if you are from here, you are already among the frontrunners. If you’re Hispanic or Asian, well, sorry, ladies, but studies reveal that women belonging to this category have fewer multiple births, but that wouldn’t stop you from trying, now would it?

6. If you are taller or have higher body weight:

Studies show that taller women have certain insulin-like growth factors, which enhances the chances of having a twin. Women with twins had been seen to have an average height of 5 feet and 5 inches. According to a study, women who are overweight or obese also have higher chances of conceiving twins, especially if they have a body mass index above 30. Even though it might seem doable, don’t do it as it also places you in the high-risk category of pregnancy. Consult your doctor about a healthy weight before you plan to get pregnant.

7. Secret food for multiple births:

some studies show that vegan women who are taking no dairy products give birth to twins at ⅕ the rate of women who consume dairy; this may be because eating dairy may allow in extra insulin growth factor.
The Yoruba population of Nigeria, known for the highest twinning rate believes that eating yams may increase the chance of having twins. This population believes that yams “contain a hormone known as phytoestrogen, which can stimulate multiple ovulation.”

8. Previous pregnancy:

if you already have a child and are planning to get him/her a sibling, chances are you might end up with twins. Previous pregnancy or previous multiple pregnancies may increase your chance of having twins. Studies show that women of ages between 35 to 40 with four or more children are three times more probable to have twins compared to women under 20 without children. It is not clear why this happens; it may be because you are nearing menopause, so your body may be trying its best before the end.

Multiple births – common or not so common?

As we have seen, the odds of having multiples depend on various factors, both personal and not so personal. There has been a massive change in twinning rates throughout the years. The statistics for multiples have shown a striking increase in recent years. The rate of multiple births in India is around nine twins for every 1000 babies, but 95% of all multiple births are twins among multiples.

Statistics show that within the general population in the 21st century, the chances of having twins are about 3 in 100, i.e., about 3% so, that said, your options are better than ever, at least, better than previous generations. Studies have shown that there has been almost a 60% rise in multiple births than in the early 80s. Twins represent 33.3 of every 1000 births.

Multiple births have become more conventional in recent years because more people use fertility drugs and procedures, such as IVF, to help conceive a baby.

The odds of conceiving “spontaneous” triplets i.e., without the aid of fertility enhancements are about 1 in 4,000 births.
Studies show substantial growth in the rate of triplet births over the last twenty years. Estimates show that around 77% of all triplets are the result of fertility-enhancing treatments. The odds of having quadruplets are even higher, which was predicted to be 1 in 729,000 births.

The thing to note:

Though having multiples may seem very tempting, it is more important to have a safe pregnancy and a healthy baby. Remember “a” baby is always much better than ‘no’ baby. Multiples may seem like a good idea to save you another pregnancy, but it comes with a handful of risks and complications. More babies are equal to more responsibility, similar to the dialogue in superhero movies (with power comes more responsibility). Regardless of how many babies you make, mothers are always superheroes! So try don’t go crazy.

Antara Chowdhary

Antara Chowdhury is a Content Marketer and Strategist with 6 years of experience. She is Master degree holder in Journalism and wants to explore everything she can write on.

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