Many people believe that twin pregnancy can only happen if there is a hereditary factor. In fact, a person can experience a twin pregnancy without having a family history of it. Some traits are genetically inherited, including twin pregnancy. However, this is not always the case. Many couples can have twins without heredity, and there are some ways that can increase the chances of getting pregnant with twins.
If you or your partner have a family history of twins, you may be curious whether you have the chances to get pregnant with twins or not. Here is the explanation behind the phenomenon of getting pregnant with twins and how to increase your chances.
Twin Pregnancy is Not Always Due to Offspring (Family Genetics)
As we know, there are two types of twins; identical and fraternal twins. Based on the research, about one-third of all twin pregnancy cases are identical twins, while two-thirds are fraternal twins.
For your information, fraternal twins occur due to genetic factors. In this type of pregnancy, two eggs are fertilized by sperm. Then, both develop in the womb. The genes of these two embryos are different and the sexes may be different. Meanwhile, you can have identical twins even if you do not have a family history of it. Usually, pregnancy starts with one egg fertilized by a sperm. Then, this cell divides into two different embryos. The end result is two fetuses of the same sex that are very similar.
Research by Boklage in the journal Human Reproduction (2009) shows that the chance of fraternal twin pregnancy is higher due to the presence of a special gene. This gene can cause hyper ovulation, which is a condition when the ovaries release two eggs in each menstrual cycle instead of one.
Women with this twin gene seem to have high levels of several hormones, including follicle stimulating hormone (FSH). Need to know that high follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) levels stimulate the release of more than one egg, increasing the chance of conceiving twins.
Read also: Myths About Twins from Nancy L. Segal Ph.D.
Is It True That Twins Skip A Generation?
There is an assumption that twins usually skip a generation. It means that if you have a twin sister, you will not be able to have twins. Instead, it’s your offspring who can have twins.
In fact, there is no research that proves that one has to skip a generation to have twins. This is a misconception. The twin gene only affects the egg release process in females. So, it can be said that it is the mother’s side that plays the biggest role in increasing the chances of a fraternal twin pregnancy. It means that even if the father has a family member who is a twin, this will not affect the chances of getting pregnant with twins. The chances only increase if the mother has a history of twin offspring in her family.
A man who has twins in his family may have the gene. However, this gene will have no effect because it is the woman who can release the egg. The men who have twin genes can be passed on to his daughter. When the daughter becomes pregnant, she may hyper ovulate, making her more likely to have fraternal twins.
How to Have Twins without Offspring (Family History)?
Apparently, the chances of a twin pregnancy are determined by many factors, mainly genetics, environment, and the type of twins themselves. However, generally, here are the various factors that can increase the chances.
1. Mother’s Age
According to a 2018 study in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology, women who become pregnant in their 30s have a higher chance of having twins. This is because follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) increases with age.
Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) plays an important role in the maturation of the egg inside the ovum before it is released. Sometimes, the follicles in the egg overreact to elevated FSH levels. This leads to the release of more than one egg. In other words, there is more than one egg that has a chance of developing into two embryos.
2. Weight Gain during Pregnancy
Another way to increase the chances of conceiving twins without offspring is to gain weight while pregnant. This is based on the principle that extra fat in the body can increase estrogen levels. Need to know that the high estrogen levels then cause overstimulation of the ovaries so that the ovaries release more than one egg. However, keep in mind that being overweight can also make it difficult to get pregnant.
3. Tall Body
An old study published in The Journal of Reproductive Medicine showed that people above 164.8 cm in height have a higher chance of getting pregnant with twins than those less than 161.8 cm in height. It is not yet clear what causes this. However, some researchers theorize that a tall body is a result of good nutrition. Fulfilling your nutritional intake is one way to have twins without genetic heredity.
4. Certain Foods
Some people eat certain foods because they believe it is a way to have twins without having offspring. Examples of such foods are milk and its products, avocados, green vegetables such as spinach and broccoli, nuts, seeds, and chicken liver. In 2019, one study in the American Journal of Medicine discussed this case. It is possible that the growth hormones given to cows affect hormones in the human body, including those that affect fertility.
5. Join the Fertility Program
The American Society for Reproductive Medicine says that fertility programs can increase the chances of twin pregnancy. One reason is that some fertility drugs work by stimulating the ovaries. Aside from that, IVF can also increase the chances of twin pregnancy. To achieve this goal, there must be two embryos implanted into the uterus and both must be fully developed.
Twin pregnancies can be related to genetic factors or be a completely random medical phenomenon. Thus, women who want to get pregnant with twins have many ways to conceive twins in the absence of heredity. Keep in mind that having more than one fetus carries greater risks. Therefore, the mother needs extra attention and care to stay healthy and the fetus grows strong.