What are the Chances of Having Identical Twins

identical twinsFinding out you’re pregnant can be amazing. You take your vitamins, you start to think of possibilities of handling a child (especially your first), etc.

Before you go for your ultrasound you might be wondering what the possibilities of having twins are. And what are the possibilities of them being identical?

Or you are lying on the table with the ultrasound tech seeing two heartbeats, and two sets of legs and hands.

But what are the chances of having identical twins either with IVF or natural pregnancies? Let’s dive further in and see.

How do Twins Occur?

Some women really do want to have twins or they know it runs in their family and they want to be a part of that. Then there are others that want no parts of having twins because well, that’s just more work.

Twins occur either when one egg is fertilized and splits into two, producing identical twins, or two eggs are fertilized forming fraternal twins. There are some reasons as to why you are more likely to have twins than your friends.

Having fertility treatments can increase the likelihood of having twins because of the increased number of eggs produced and there is more than one embryo inserted into the body, increases the chances of multiples birth.

Increased weight can also increase the chances of having twins, even if they don’t genetically run in the family. According to Huggies[1], if your BMR is over 30, you are more likely to have two little ones running around rather than just one.

Some other reasons that the chance of having twins might be increased is due to age. They say that after the age of 35, the rate of twins is increased.

And genetics, which can essentially play a huge role in having twins. If you are from a family that twins run in, especially on your mother’s side, you are more likely to have them yourself.

These are just the multitude of reasons that you could be destined to have twins, but what are the numbers?

Statistics of Having Identical Twins

Let’s get into the numbers here and take into consideration what the chances of having identical twins is.

According to research, when it comes to having identical twins in, it’s 1 out of every 285 births[2]. But if you have had twins already, your chance of having another set quadruples.

Now the chance of having identical twins is lower than that of having fraternal twins. The statistical chance of having fraternal twins is 1 in 90, and with fertility treatments, it’s 1 in 38.[3]

But now that changes if you are a twin yourself (although it doesn’t increase your chances of having identical twins, just twins). Your chances at that point are 1 in 17.[4]

Facts About Identical Twins

No one knows why identical twins are formed, however, it is said that it’s technically a malfunction of the development process.[5]

Unlike fraternal twins, there is no hereditary trait that leads to an increased likelihood of having identical twins. It’s really just something that happens.

There is also a new “phenomenon” that is called semi-identical twins, which is when two sperm fertilize one egg that then splits. So these “twins” share the DNA of the mother but not the father.[6] Interesting if you ask me.

Benefits of Twins (Identical Ones as well)

As a parent, it can be daunting to have twins and identical ones for sure. The thought of having to tell them apart at the beginning will require a system of marking them so to speak in order to determine who is whom.

While it is a struggle for some, it’s also a blessing. As a parent, you get to hear multiple heartbeats, increased feelings that are felt earlier as well.

You also get to watch them grow up together and fascinate in the idea that they have their very own language, their own way of talking to each other.

While they are also similar, they are also so very different because they are still two individuals. You may also worry about how you are going to love each one as much as the other. It just happens.

There is no love greater than a parents love for her children, as just as those going from one to two, their heart grows to accommodate that of the new sibling, and yours will too.

It’s a journey that is special because while many people have one child at a time, you have two. Yes, the risks of potential problems during birth and pregnancy but it will be worth it in the end.

They may not be able to predict the likelihood that you will have identical twins, but if you do, prepare yourself for an amazing ride.

References

  1. Huggies. Chances of Having Twins. https://www.huggies.com.au/childbirth/multiple-births/twins/chances
  2. Twin Statistics. http://www.twinstwice.com/twins.html
  3. See above #2
  4. See above #2
  5. Very Well (Fierro, 2017, Oct. 9). Overview of Identical Twins. https://www.verywell.com/identical-twins-2447126
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