One of the most frequent questions my wife and I receive when people find out we have twins is, “Do twins run in your family?”
I always want to say, “Yes, they run all over the place now.”
Keep in mind that there are two types of twins: identical and fraternal.
Identical twins are a random occurrence and have no connection to your family history. If you have identical twins, like we did, you can say you won the twin lottery. The odds of having identical twins are about 1 in 285, regardless of age, race, religion, or family history.
Since identical twins are random, your twins are no more likely than you were to have twins of their own.
Fraternal twins happen when the mother releases two eggs that are both fertilized.
There is a genetic disposition in some mothers to hyper-ovulate. This condition can be hereditary.
Dads, your family history has no impact on whether you will have twins or not. This is true even if you are a fraternal twin or you have a parent that is a fraternal twin. No matter what you do, you can’t ovulate and thus any family history of twins is irrelevant.
The odds of fraternal twins increases when the mother’s family has a history of hyper-ovulation and fraternal twins.
Increasing Your Odds
The older a mother, the more likely she is to release more than one egg, even if she has no family history of twins. Certain fertility drugs also increase your odds of fraternal twins.
(RELATED: Don't reinvent the twin parenting wheel. Get my 7 Things Every Dad of Twins Needs to Know.)
The bottom line, however, is that the mother’s family history is the biggest factor in you having fraternal twins.
Do twins run in families? Yes, they run all over the place.
Tired of answering this question all the time? Just wear this t-shirt and it can answer for you:
Picture by Ankur P