Women today are waiting longer to start families. The use of infertility treatments has also gone up over time, raising the likelihood of multiple births.
As a result, twin births are more common today than ever.
If you’re looking to conceive twins, there’s no surefire method. But there are certain genetic factors and medical treatments that might increase the possibility.
In vitro fertilization (IVF) is one type of assisted reproductive technology (ART). It involves using medical intervention in order to conceive. Women who use IVF may also be prescribed fertility medications before the procedure to increase their chances of getting pregnant.
For IVF, the women’s eggs and man’s sperm are removed before they are fertilized. They are then incubated together in a laboratory dish where an embryo is formed.
Through a medical procedure, doctors place the embryo in the woman’s uterus where it will hopefully implant and grow. To increase the odds that an embryo will take hold in the uterus, more than one may be put in during IVF. This raises the likelihood of having twins.
Medications designed to increase fertility typically work by boosting the number of eggs produced in a woman’s ovaries. If more eggs are produced, it’s also likely that more than one can be released and fertilized. This occurs at the same time, causing fraternal twins.
Clomiphene and gonadotropins are commonly used fertility drugs that can increase your chances of having twins.
Clomiphene is a medication available only through prescription. In the United States, the brand names for the drug are Clomid and Serophene. The drug is taken by mouth, and dose will depend on a person’s individual needs. It works by stimulating the body’s hormones to cause ovulation. Studies have shown that women who use this drug for fertility treatment are more likely to have twins than those who don’t.
Gonadotropins describe a type of fertility medication given by injection. Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) is given by itself or combined with luteinizing hormone (LH).
Both hormones are made naturally by the brain and tell the ovaries to produce one egg each month. When given as an injection, FSH (with or without LH) tells the ovaries to produce multiple eggs. Because the body is making more eggs, there is a higher chance that more than one will become fertilized.
The American Society for Reproductive Medicine estimates that up to 30 percent of pregnancies that occur while using gonadotropins result in twins or multiples.
Both of these drugs are generally considered safe and effective. But like any medication, there are potential risks and side effects that go along with using fertility drugs.
If both you and your partner have a history of multiples in the family, your chances of conceiving twins is higher. This is especially true for women who have fraternal twins in their family. That’s because they’re more likely to have inherited the gene that makes them release more than one egg at a time.
According to The American Society for Reproductive Medicine, women who are fraternal twins themselves have a 1 in 60 chance of having their own twins. Men who are fraternal twins have a 1 in 125 chance of fathering twins.