Is Giving Birth To Twins Hereditary?
Is having twins genetic? Well, the answer to the question is both yes and no. The truth about inheriting the possibility of having twins only relates to having fraternal twins, while conceiving identical twins is not related to genes. The possibility of conceiving fraternal twins is higher when there is a family history of giving birth to this set of genetically different siblings. Fraternal twins are a result of the fertilization of two different eggs that were released at the same time. This tendency to release more than one egg during a cycle can be passed on by the mother to any or all her children.
All About “Is Having Twins Genetic?”
The genetic trait of releasing more than one egg is called hyperovulation. Typically, a woman only releases one egg during her monthly menstrual cycle. Some women have what is called the “twin gene” meaning that there are chances for these women to release more than one egg per cycle and thus increase the chances of having more than one egg fertilized. Fraternal twins are a result of this hyperovulation and the fertilization of the eggs in the uterus.
Hyperovulation though does not only happen because of heredity. Age also plays a factor for a woman to hyperovulate. Studies have shown that women who are in their early thirties are more likely to hyperovulate than those who are in the twenties. At around the age of thirty-five and up, this tendency to hyperovulate decreases.
This gene trait can also be passed from a mother to son. If someone says that their “twin gene” has skipped a generation, chances are, it was the son who inherited the hyperovulating gene, which he may have then passed on to a daughter. The reason why it looks as if the “twin gene” skipped a generation is because, the male spouse’s gene does not affect his wife’s ability to hyperovulate, hence the decreased chances of conceiving a fraternal twin.
Race can also affect the increased chances of conceiving twins. According to research, women of African origin have twice the possibility of conceiving fraternal twins compared to their Caucasian counterparts. And when compared to women of Asian decent, African women are four times more likely to give birth to fraternal twins.
More On: “Is Having Twins Genetic?”
Conceiving identical twins though is different. A family that has a history of “twinning” is not a guarantee to parents-to-be to have identical twins. Identical twins are conceived by the splitting of the fertilized egg which happens at random. No relation has been established in conceiving identical twins to race, sex and genetics have been found in any research. Today though, race, age and genetics are not the sole factors in having fraternal twins. Artificial reproductive techniques and fertility pills may also increase a woman’s chance in conceiving twins or even more.