Health

Some Proven Tips To Increase the Chances of Having Twins

Multiple odds help in boosting your chances of having twins. Thanks to advancements in technology, modern fertility treatments exist, including Gonal-F, Clomid, and even Follistim, which… Trista - July 25, 2020

Multiple odds help in boosting your chances of having twins. Thanks to advancements in technology, modern fertility treatments exist, including Gonal-F, Clomid, and even Follistim, which make it easier to conceive multiple children at the same time. But, these treatments will do nothing if your body isn’t capable of taking them. Your age, height, and even family history matter a lot to increase the chances of birthing more than one child. You don’t always have to go for fertility treatments to get twins. There are some natural causes behind it as well. 

For example, women over the age of 30 can conceive twins faster. Then if you have someone in your family with twins, chances are high you might have twins as well. If you have fraternal twins in the family, chances of conceiving twins will hike up a lot. Similarly, a woman with a BMI level over 30 has a higher chance of conceiving twins than a woman with a healthier BMI. So many factors are there which can contribute to your twin factor!

Twins can be challenging to give birth to. Shutterstock

How Twins are Formed

Only 2% of all pregnancies will end up with twins. That’s how rare it is. Among that number, 30% falls under identical twins, and the remaining 70% will be fraternal or non-identical twins. Now, you must be wondering how twins are formed. It all starts with a single baby, right from its starting point when the process of fertilization takes place. The egg cell will be first fertilized by the sperm to form a zygote. Next, after waiting for a couple of days, that fertilized egg will be divided multiple times to create a structure. This structure mainly comprises hundreds of cells, stated as a blastocyst.

Monozygotic twins. Image via Twin Pregnancy and Beyond

In the first fertilization week, you can check inside a blastocyst and get to see multiple cells to form the embryo. Later, the blastocyst might have to continue its traveling towards the woman’s uterus, where it will get stuck to the lining of the uterus. From there, it will grow into one single baby. But, when it comes to identical twins, they come from one single fertilized egg or zygote. That’s why they are primarily stated as monozygotic twins. Only a single sperm cell is used for fertilizing this egg, just like with single babies. 

There are different ways that twins can be formed. Shutterstock

More About How Twins Are Formed

Quite different from a single baby, this fertilized egg cell will later get split into two separate embryos. That’s a sign that the couple is having identical twins. This change takes place within the first fertilization week and can quickly happen multiple times. This split can take place at the two-cell stage within days 1 to 3. It can even take place at the early blastocyst stage, from days 4 to 6. Sometimes, the fertilized egg gets split into two in the late blastocyst stage, occurring within days 7 to 9. 

Image via Shutterstock

When the egg cell splits into two, that’s the time to determine how these twins will be implanted in the uterine lining. These eggs might share chorion, amnion, and placenta, but that isn’t always the case. They may not share it at some point. If the splitting takes place earlier, the twins will become more independent and will develop with ease inside the uterus. So, if the pair splits during the initial two-cell stage, then each one will have its own chorion, amnion, and placenta. Otherwise, if the fertilized egg splits later during the last blastocyst stage, there are higher chances of twins sharing chorion, placenta, and amnion.

There tends to be a general misconception when it comes to twins. People believe that if there are twins in the mother’s gene, the chances are high that there will be a twin in the family later. But the truth is complicated. Science failed to pinpoint the real reason behind the formation of identical twins, even to this date. For some, it is just a miracle!

Fraternal twins are not identical. Image via Shuttterstock

Fraternal Twins

The second type of twin is non-identical, or fraternal, twins. They don’t look the same as each other. These twins get developed from two separate fertilized zygotes or egg cells. That’s why such twins are sometimes stated as dizygotic twins. But, these fraternal twins are always influenced by the genes of their mother, unlike identical twins. It is because of a proven reason. When a mother ovulates, sometimes the ovary might release two egg cells, all set up for fertilization. Otherwise, a mother might release only one egg cell for fertilizing during ovulation.

Fraternal Twins. Image via Shutterstock

While conceiving, these individual egg cells will be fertilized by two different sperm cells. That’s why fraternal twins never look the same. At some point, they might not even be of the same gender. 

Identical twins and fraternal twins are formed in the womb differently. Shutterstock

Differences between Fraternal and Identical Twins

As you all know from the discussion above, fraternal twins will develop from two different fertilized egg cells by two separate sperm cells. On the other hand, you have identical twins developing from one fertilized egg cell and then splitting into two separate identities at different stages of fertilization. The chances of having identical twins will be around 3 in almost 1000, which is pretty rare. Then, on the other hand, you have fraternal twins who will vary by geographies and will range from around 6 to more than 20 in every 1000 deliveries. There are some proven differences between fraternal and identical twins. So, it is time to get on with these notes.

Fraternal twins occur more often than you think, but do not share identical DNA. Shutterstock

Genetic Code and Gender

In terms of genetic code, fraternal twins are not identical, just like any other sibling. On the other hand, you have identical twins who look the same as one another. Even in gender, fraternal twins are usually different but remain the same for identical twins.

Fraternal twins. Image via Shutterstock

Fraternal twins will always vary around the world. Recent studies have indicated that around 6 out of 1000 twins are fraternal in Japan, and more than 20 out of 1000 deliveries can be seen as fraternal in some African countries. Around two-thirds of twins globally can be termed as fraternal twins. When it comes to identical twins, it remains uniform on a global platform, which will be 3 out of 1000 deliveries. Just one-third of this world will be lucky enough to fall under an identical category.

The majority of twins are a result of IVF. Shutterstock

Blood Type, Causes, and Appearances

Fraternal twins might be the result of some kind of fertility drugs, hereditary plans, and even IVF. But, it is tough to determine the cause behind an identical twin. In the case of blood type, fraternal twins might have different blood groups, but identical ones will always share the same blood group. In terms of appearance, the fraternal twins will look like other siblings with no such distinct similarity between the two. But, when it comes to identical twins, the appearance is remarkably similar. However, due to some environmental factors, they might not be the exact carbon copy of one another.

TTTS is a real threat to twins. Shutterstock

In Utero, Risks Associated with TTTS and Fingerprints

In utero, fraternal twins develop in different sacs. But, for identical twins, the eggs might remain in one sac, which seems to be quite different from the one just mentioned. Now, in twins, there’s always the risk of TTTS or twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome. This risk is lower in fraternal twins when compared to identical ones. In terms of fingerprints, it will be different among fraternal and identical twins as well. 

Identical twins come from one egg, so they have identical DNA. Shutterstock

Genetic Similarity and Zygosity

Zygosity is a term used for determining the similarity between genomes. Fraternal twins are mainly dizygotic, which means they get developed from two separate eggs by two sperm. So, the generic code will be just like any other sibling. On the other hand, you have monozygotic or identical twins, which get developed from a single egg. So, they always have a nearly identical genetic code. They are mostly of the same gender, and some might even have similar physical characteristics. But, there might be some differences in genetics after zygote splits, mainly because of DNA mutations.

Fraternal twins. Image via Shutterstock

Differences in the Twin DNA

Identical twins share the same DNA, which is mainly expected to develop entirely at the same rate. It takes place mostly during the gestation period. Then you can always observe separate DNA in fraternal twins, which take different times to develop. Fraternal twins are just like other siblings, and such multiple gestations can be a point of serious concern among healthcare providers, mainly because of numerous developmental rates.

The ability to carry twins is genetic; it can be passed from mother to daughter. Shutterstock

Genetics or Heredity of Twins

In the genetic limelight, monozygotic or identical twins are almost identical. Most of the time, they are of the same sex unless there’s been any mutation during the developmental phase. Children of identical twins will be stated as half-siblings genetically. They can even be noted as full siblings if the monozygotic twins had sex with another pair of identical twins or the same person. But, let’s just say that identical twins do not share the same fingerprints. Even when confined within the womb, the fetuses get the opportunity to touch multiple parts of the environment, resulting in some smaller variations in prints. So, each fingerprint remains utterly different from the rest.

monozygotic twins. Image via Shutterstock

In terms of phenotype, monozygotic twins will have the same one. Because of the surrounding environment or deactivation of various X chromosomes in female identical twins, some twins might express different genetic phenotypes. It might be the result of some rare cases because of aneuploidy. It is primarily stated as XXY Klinefelter syndrome. Here, the zygote gets split unevenly. 

Even though genetically quite similar, monozygotic twins are not exactly the same. DNA in the white blood cells of 66 pairs of twins was researched for around 506 to 786 single-nucleotide based polymorphisms. Studies have shown that polymorphisms occur in approximately 2 out of 33 million comparisons! That helps the researchers to actually generalize that the identical twin’s blood cells might have an order of DNA sequence, which remains different for 12 million nucleotides. The mutations produced might have been detected during embryonic cell division. If they get to occur during early fetal development stages, they might be present in a more substantial proportion of the current body cells. 

Genes also play a part in whether a woman will give birth to twins or not. Wikimedia Commons

Epigenetic Modification

Another different cause between these identical twins will be an epigenetic modification. Such changes take place as a result of various environmental influences. Epigenetics will mainly refer to the activity level of any proper gene. A gene might switch on or off or might be partially switched on or off. Studies have shown that monozygotic twins might have different epigenetics within. Some researchers have gone through a study with 80 pairs of identical twins, ranging from 3 to 74 years of age. The youngest twin among the lot has few epigenetic differences. The differences start to increase with growing age. 

Image via Wikipedia

Around 50-year-old twins were noted to have three times more difference in epigenetic when compared to the youngest twin. Even those twins who have lived separate lives apart from one another will have the most considerable difference. But, some characteristics will remain the same, like personality and IQ, to name a few.

IVF has made it easier for women to give birth to twins because of having to fertilize several eggs at once. Shutterstock

Increasing the Chance of Conceiving Twins

Having twins is pretty uncommon. One in almost 250 pregnancies might turn out to be twins. But, there you have some fertility treatments, which can help prepare a couple for twins beforehand. Women, choosing to conceive at a later age, have higher chances of having twins. Since 1980, the rate of conceiving twins has increased by over 75%. Most of the time, the woman has a higher chance of having fraternal twins than identical ones. There are multiple factors, which can eventually increase the likelihood of having twins. 

Having twins can be genetic. Shutterstock

Twins in the Family

A woman can have twins if there’s someone in the family with a history of having twins. If the mother’s side has twins in family history, chances are high she might conceive with one as well. It is not so prevalent if the father’s side has twins. But, this chance is only applicable if conceived naturally and without going for any fertility treatment. 

Image via Shutterstock

As per expert surveys, women who are part of non-identical twins themselves will have a higher chance of producing twins. For the men falling under the fraternity twin section, the chances of conceiving twins are less than 1 in 250 births. Some might even believe that twins can skip generations. It means you can have twins if your grandparents had them. But, it’s hard to find any evidence supporting this theory.

IVF injects sperm directly into the egg to increase the chances of pregnancy. Image via Shutterstock

Fertility Treatment

The American Society of Reproductive Medicine states that one major factor in increasing the chances of having twins will be if the couple plans to go for fertility treatments. There are multiple fertility treatments available, which have increased the likelihood of conceiving twins. There are some fertility drugs available that help in stimulating the ovary and cause the release of multiple eggs for fertilization. If the sperm can cleverly fertilize both eggs, there are high chances of consuming twins.

In vitro fertilization. Image via Shutterstock

Another fertility treatment has to be the famous IVF or in-vitro fertilization. Experts will carry out this method by extracting eggs from a woman and fertilizing those with the donor’s sperm. The entire procedure takes place in a lab for producing an embryo. Later, they will use other methods to transfer that fertilized embryo inside a woman’s womb to grow and thrive. To currently increase the likeliness of successful results, healthcare experts might place multiple embryos into the uterus. If the embryos are properly implanted and developed at a successful rate, the chances of conceiving twins remain high. However, multiple pregnancies have their share of risk factors too. So, the professionals will always limit an embryo’s quantity that they are planning to transfer into the would-be mother’s womb. 

A woman’s genetic makeup can also determine if she has a higher percentage of giving birth to twins. Pexels

Height, Weight, and Age

Some proven reports state that twins are quite common in heavier or taller women than petite ones. It is tough to pinpoint the reason in this regard. One option might be because of better nutrition. Heavier or taller women might have good nutritional value compared to shorter women, which helps them to release more eggs. Women with a heavier bodyweight might have additional resources that are suitable for developing fetuses and conceiving twins.

Image via Shutterstock

The older a woman is, the less likely she is to have viable eggs. As procured from “Office on Women’s Health,” women have higher chances of conceiving twins if they are over 30 years of age. At this point, older women have higher chances of releasing more than one egg during the reproductive cycle when compared to younger women. If the sperm gets to fertilize two different eggs, there are high chances of ending up with twins.

Women from different races and ethnicity are also more prevalent than others to have twins. Shutterstock

Racial Background

In the USA, non-Hispanic black or white women are known to have higher chances of conceiving twins than Hispanic women. There are multiple unproven claims made on how you can increase the chances of conceiving twins. Some people might ask you to follow a restricted diet plan, and others will go for alternative therapies. But, it is hard to find any scientific evidence for supporting these methods. Some proven fertility treatments like ovary stimulants or even IVF will work to increase your chances of conceiving twins. But, a twin pregnancy always proves to be riskier for not just the mother but the developing fetuses as well. Therefore, some fertility clinics will always advise against implanting more than one embryo while performing an IVF treatment.

In vitro fertilization IVF of human egg cell or fertility treatment. Image via Shutterstock

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention always recommend that younger women who are planning to go for an IVF treatment should always think of implanting only one embryo first. With the success of fertility treatments continually improving, there are fewer needs for you to transfer multiple embryos at all. A single one will do the trick. In the USA, the IVF treatments associated with 3 to 4 embryos have decreased between 2007 and 2016. 

Remember that twin pregnancy has its share of cons as well. Some of those are the lower birth weight of the babies, premature birth, stillbirth, diabetes while pregnant, preeclampsia, disabilities by birth, and even congenital health issues like autism and cerebral palsy. Getting complete bed rest with proper medical care is vital if you are having twins, whether through fertility treatments or naturally.

It has become much more comfortable for older women to become successfully pregnant. Shutterstock

Fertility Breakthroughs

Even if you are trying hard, getting pregnant isn’t easy. But, there have been multiple fertility breakthroughs that have helped so many women not just to get pregnant but with twins, in some cases. If you have been planning for twins for quite a lot of time, there are some fertility drugs or in-vitro fertilization methods you may want to try first. 

IVF is one of the more conventional means of increasing fertility. Shutterstock

IVF or In-vitro Fertilization

In-vitro fertilization is the finest example of assisted reproductive technology or ART. Here, medical intervention takes place for conceiving. Women using IVF will be given some fertility medicine before starting this procedure. That helps in increasing their chances of getting pregnant. Here, the eggs from women and the sperm from men will be removed before fertilizing. They are incubated in a lab dish together to help form an embryo.

In-vitro Fertilization. Image via Shutterstock

During this medical process, the doctors will place the embryo in the uterus of the woman where it will grow and implant. For increasing odds that embryo will get hold of the uterus, sometimes, doctors might place more than one embryo in the womb. It helps in raising the likelihood of conceiving twins. 

Fertility drugs are taken during IVF to increase viability. Image via Shutterstock

Fertility Drugs Usage

There are some medicines available to increase the fertility rate among women by boosting several eggs as produced within ovaries. If you get to produce more eggs, the chances are high that more than one might get released and fertilized. It occurs at the same time, leading to fraternal twins. Some of the common fertility drugs used are gonadotropins and clomiphene. 

Clomiphene Drug. Image via Amigozlife.com

Clomiphene is a well-known medicine that you can get only through prescription. In the USA, this medicine comes under multiple brand names like Serophene and Clomid. You have to take this drug by mouth, and the dose solely depends on the individual and her needs. Therefore, consulting a doctor before taking this pill is mandatory. The product works by stimulating the hormones inside a woman’s body, which are designed for ovulation. Some studies have indicated that women using this drug are more likely to have twins than those who are not getting this fertility treatment.

Many of these drugs do have some minor side effects, so they should be taken with caution. Shutterstock

More About Fertility Drug Usage

Another one in the list is gonadotropins, which are given through injection. In this injection, FSH or follicle-stimulating hormones are assigned to a woman. Sometimes, this hormone gets combined with the LH or luteinizing hormone. The woman’s brain comes up with these hormones and will tell the ovaries to produce one egg every month. If this hormone gets injected into your body from the outside, it will tell the ovaries to produce multiple eggs every month. As your body is making numerous eggs, you have higher chances of getting pregnant with twins. 

Gonadotropins injection. Image via Verywell Family

The ASRM states that around 30% of pregnancies take place while using gonadotropins, which then results in twins or even more babies. These drugs are considered not just effective but safe to use. But, like other medications, these drugs have their share of potential side effects and risks. So, consulting a doctor before getting fertility drugs inside your body is a must.

IUI stands for intrauterine insemination, which also increases the chances of an implanted egg. Wikimedia Commons

All About IUI

Even though this procedure of in-utero insemination or IUI might not increase your chances of conceiving twins, adding some drugs along with it can help otherwise. Clomid and letrozole are some of the medications designed to stimulate ovulation. Both these medicines are mostly given when women are in their IUI cycles. It helps the body to produce more than one egg to get fertilized at the same time. If two eggs get fertilized and implanted at the same time, the chances of having twins are high.

Intrauterine Insemination. Image via Shutterstock

One study indicates that Clomid has a 7.4% chance of helping you get a twin. Femara is known to have quite a lower rate of just 3.4%. Well, these numbers might be below average, but they are pretty high when compared to natural ways of conceiving twins. Then you have gonadotropins, like the FSH or the follicle-stimulating hormones, which will help in growing egg follicles. These are primarily injectable medicines mostly used in IUI and some other types of fertility treatments. Using this medicine will increase the chances of having twins by 30%. 

Scientists are using ovarian tissue transplants to help those who have had problems getting pregnant before. Wikipedia

Ovarian Tissue Transplant to Viable Pregnancy

Modern technology has advanced to a completely new level these days. Right now, amazing doctors can perform surgeries that will help you to become a mother even if you don’t have ovaries. Take the example of an Australian woman who had to get her ovaries removed as part of cancer treatment. The doctors took the initiative to save some of her ovarian tissue, which later helped the woman to get pregnant with twins. So, this ovarian tissue transplant can not only help you to get pregnant but with twins!

Frozen embryos can now be adopted for women who have a hard time getting pregnant. Shutterstock

Embryos Available for Adoption

It has become really common for the couples to get frozen embryos as leftovers after trying successful IVF treatments. Now those embryos can be put to good use. More couples are now deciding to share their healthy embryos with couples who are unfortunate enough to be victims of infertility. When these frozen embryos get implanted into infertile women, they can grow healthy fetuses and twin babies. That’s how far modern medical technology has come.

Egg donors are being replaced with this process, as it still relies on fertilization instead of already-fertilized eggs. Shutterstock

Phasing Out Egg Donors

Egg donors have been angels for so many infertile women and helped so many of them to get pregnant, even with twins or triplets! However, you might not need such services anymore because of new technology. It helps doctors to boost the ability of a woman to produce her own mature and healthy eggs. There are multiple medications for that, and they are easily available but only through a doctor’s prescription.

The rates of IVF success have only gotten higher over time. Shutterstock

Cheaper IVF with a Higher Success Rate

IVF has been quite an expensive procedure for a long time, no doubt. Luckily, things have changed for the betterment of patients. The market came up with mini-IVF, which is a newer and less expensive form of IVF. It is half the price of traditional IVF treatments. The procedure is as effective in women aged 35 years as it is in younger women. It is even twice as effective among women around the age of 40. 

Image via Shutterstock

Recent studies have indicated that an average healthy woman has a longer time to get pregnant than what experts previously thought. Recent surveys indicate that women between the ages of 35 to 40 who had sex during ovulation time are just 6% less likely to be pregnant within a year than their peers of 20 to 34 years of age. So, you have ample time to get pregnant!

Eating a healthy diet can promote better chances of pregnancy success. Shutterstock

A Healthy Diet

Just because you want to conceive twins, that doesn’t mean you have to be too strict. But, you can at least try to plan out a healthy diet plan, which helps you to maintain a healthy ovary for reproducing eggs. Try moving towards a balanced and healthy diet plan, with multiple fresh ingredients in place of processed and pre-made food. It helps you to put on weight gradually and help your babies to grow because of the right ingredients. A balanced diet should have fruits and vegetables, starchy food items, food rich in protein, and dairy products. For the healthy development of twins, you need proper iodine in your diet plan. Safe fish and dairy items are good sources of iodine.

Exercising while pregnant increases blood flow and reduces a lot of the pregnancy side effects. Shutterstock

Try to Always Maintain Good Health

Anytime you are trying to conceive a child, it is essential focus on your health. You should quit smoking, drinking, doing drugs, and other unhealthy activities well in advance to conception. If you can get pregnant naturally, then there’s nothing better than that. In case you can’t, there are proven scientific methods available to help you fulfill your dreams. Research to learn more about the treatments before you finally say yes to any one of the options. Healthcare professionals are always there to guide you through the process.

Sources:

https://www.verywellfamily.com/what-are-my-chances-of-having-twins-1960180

https://account.allinahealth.org/library/content/17/58

https://www.diffen.com/difference/Fraternal_Twins_vs_Identical_Twins

https://www.premierhealth.com/faq/what-s-the-difference-between-identical-and-fraternal-twins-

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twin#Genetic_and_epigenetic_similarity

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324455#are-twins-common

https://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/how-to-conceive-twins#family-history

https://www.parents.com/getting-pregnant/fertility/5-most-exciting-fertility-breakthroughs/

https://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/chances-of-having-twins#assisted-reproduction

https://www.babycentre.co.uk/a3580/pregnant-with-twins-eating-well

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