Twin Pregnancy

What are the Chances of Having Twins?

What are the chances of having twins and how to increase them? I get asked, often, if I did something special in order to have my twins. Well, I did – I had rounds and rounds of the IVF treatment. Not much fun, but when I look at my babies now, it was all worth it!

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But, it doesn’t have to be that way for every woman, of course. There are natural occurrences in which it is more likely to have a twin or multiple pregnancies. Here is what I’ve found out:


What are the chances of having twins?



 What are the chances of Having Twins

and How to Increase Them?


Do Twins Run In Your Family?

If you already have twins, no doubt, you have been asked countless times if twins run in your family! I know, I have! And, even though we do have four pairs of twins in our family, none point to hereditary traits. Mine are IVF conceived and the other three pairs of twins are identical, which can happen in any family. Identical twins are not the result of genetics. A single egg splitting in two is a pure chance rather than a genetic trait. However, if there are non-identical twins in your family, the chances are definitely higher! In fact, if the mother is a fraternal twin she has 2.5 times more chances to have twins herself. 




Chances of having twins and how to increase them


And, here are some numbers: In every 1000 people, about 32 will be twins. In the U.S.A., African-Americans have twins most often (36.8 per 1000) and least common occurrence of multiples is in Hispanic/Latino Americans (21.8 per 1000). 

Women over the age of 45 had twins 20% of the time, but only 2% of births to moms under age 24 were twins. 

So, being older in this case helps! If you thought Mother Nature couldn’t be any more fabulous, read this: just before a woman’s fertility enters a peri-menopausal age, the ovaries start releasing more than one egg each month! How cool is that? Hence, more women 35 and over have twins. This, however, applies only to non-identical twins. Also, women over 35 are more likely to seek medical help with conceiving so that adds to the numbers too. 


What is the Difference Between Conceiving

Identical or Fraternal Twins?


Chances of having twins and how to increase them

The difference between identical and fraternal twins is the number of eggs that are released by the woman’s ovaries. In identical twins pregnancy, only one egg is involved and in the fraternal twins pregnancy, there is more than one egg that is released and then fertilized. 

When a woman releases more than one egg it is called hyperovulation. Now, this occurrence is subject to having a twin gene. Alleles are versions of ovulating genes that make a woman more likely to hyperovulate. In turn, there is a greater chance of more than one egg being fertilized. And this is why fraternal twins might run in some families. 


Have Lots of Children!


Chances of having twins and how to increase them


Women who have had children before have a higher chance of having twins. 

And, if you are keen on maths, this science says you should have a big family if you’d like to have twins. The more times you conceive the greater chance of having multiples. Women who have had twins before also stand a greater chance of having another set.



Being on the Pill, Eating More and Being Tall!

Even though it is quite unlikely, if you get pregnant while on the pill, there is a higher occurrence of women having twins while they were on the pill. Or, if you try for pregnancy immediately after you stop the pill. Your body goes through an adjustment phase and this aids having twins.


Chances of having twins and how to increase them

One not very healthy option in order to increase chances of having twins is to have a higher body mass index (BMI) – higher than 30 to be more precise. However, this puts you into the obese category so not really too perfect.  

Taller women have twins more often. There is very little one can do about this, but if you are tall and have put up with a lifetime of shirt sleeves and trousers that are not long enough, there might be a reward for it after all – twins! 🙂



Oysters and other Twintastic Food!


Chances of having twins and how to increase them


Oysters! No, seriously, oysters! Even though I planned to bust a few myths in this article, here is one I’m actually going to confirm: oysters are high in zinc and this helps with sperm production. The more mobile and healthy the sperm is the greater the chance it will be able to fertilize more than one egg.

In short – oysters are good! No – oysters are great!

Other great sources of zinc are: 

  • Lamb
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Grass Fed Beef
  • Chickpeas
  • Cocoa Powder
  • Cashews
  • Yogurt
  • Mushrooms
  • Spinach
  • Chicken
  • Yams/Sweet potatoes

In the areas where women eat yams and sweet potatoes as the main part of their diet have a higher chance of conceiving twins. It is thought that a chemical component that naturally occurs in yams helps stimulate ovarian function.

Women who breastfeed for longer and produce prolactin for longer have a better chance of having twins. 


Can Twins Have Twins?


Chances of having twins and how to increase them


Myth Buster!

Yes, they can! If they are female and a fraternal twin, they have a greater chance of having twins. If they are male, then the genetics doesn’t play a big role, however, the ‘twin’ gene can be passed to a female child and encourage the next generation of twins. 



Boy and Girl Twins Facts! 


Chances of having twins and how to increase them


Boy and a girl, twins cannot be identical twins! Ah, I’ve been asked this so many times. I’ve had the pleasure of explaining this even to one health professional! In order to have identical twins, one egg, and one egg only splits into two and therefore produces two same DNK babies ie. two girls or two boys.





Chances of having twins and how to increase them


If you are trying to conceive and wish for twins (and what a lovely wish to have – twins rock!), hope this post has helped in working out some of your chances of having twins. In the world when more and more women decide to have their babies later, it is good to know, if you fall in this group, this fact might work in your favor!

But, like with everything else in life, I’m sure luck plays its part too! 


Wishing you lots of good twins luck and please let me know if you are wishing for, expecting or indeed have already had your double bundles of joy!



Chances of having twins and how to increase them





5 thoughts on “What are the Chances of Having Twins?

  1. Hi Alenka, what a brilliant and enlightening post! I always loved the idea of having twins as it seems a great way to have all your kids at once and get it out of the way ha ha. Anyway, it hasn’t happen to me so far even though my mum was a non identical twin so it must run in our family.
    I am thinking of having IVF treatment myself soon so your list of zinc rich foods is great and I’m going to stock up. As a plant based eater I am glad to see that it’s not just animal products on there, and cashew nuts are just my favorite so I’m going to start eating more of them.
    Thanks for all your advice!

    1. Dear Stefanie
      Thanks for reading the post and for your comment! How cool your mum is a twin! And it would be just fab if you had your own twins too 🙂 If you are going the IVF route then it is very likely you might end up with multiples. They are a lot of hard work but such enormous pleasure; I wouldn’t have it any other way.
      Yes, it is so important to eat right and get your body in the best possible state in order to conceive. If I may offer some advice, it would be to eat right and even more, to diminish the levels of stress. Easier said than done, I know…
      Wishing you all the best with your IVF and sending you some twin-baby magic dust 🙂

  2. Just when you thought having twins was a rare phenomenon you clearly break down the ways that you can increase your chance to have them. I was aware about eating oysters in order to increase your chances for twins, but it was interesting to know that eating other foods like pumpkin seeds, lamb, and grass fed beef increases your chances as well because they were high in zinc. I really like how you used a scientific explanation in order to show the difference between identical and fraternal twins. Very good job!

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