Recently, I was asked by a dad expecting twins, “How early can I know the gender of twins?”
There are really two ways to determine the gender of your twins, one via blood work and the other via ultrasound. Let’s see what each of those mean for your twin gender reveal:
Twin Gender Determination via Blood Testing
If you do any kind of chromosomal testing, this can help determine the gender a few weeks earlier than an ultrasound.
Noninvasive prenatal testing (NIPT) is a test typically done around 10 weeks of the pregnancy to screen for Down Syndrome. As this test looks at DNA, it will see the chromosomes of your babies. However, because you’re having twins, the sample will include DNA from both babies.
Remember from your Biology class that males have XY chromosomes and females have XX.
If your NIPT test indicates the presence of a Y chromosome, you’ll be having at least one boy. You will need to wait for your ultrasound to give the final determination of two boys or boy/girl twins.
If NIPT doesn’t show any Y chromosomes, the odds are good you’ll be having twin girls.
Finding Out Twins’ Gender via Ultrasound
Because a twin pregnancy tends to be a higher-risk pregnancy, your doctor is going to want to keep a close eye on mom and the babies. This means more ultrasounds that could give you a sneak peek at the gender of your twins earlier than a singleton pregnancy. You might even discover the gender as early as 12 to 13 weeks into the pregnancy.
How to find gender in a twin pregnancy is a little tricky as you’ll have two very active and squirming babies rolling around inside Mom. One twin may be blocking the view of the other. Or one of your twins may be shy and not want to show you what he (or she) is.
If the view between your babies’ legs is blocked, it will be impossible to identify gender by visual examination on an ultrasound.
(RELATED: Don't reinvent the twin parenting wheel. Get my 7 Things Every Dad of Twins Needs to Know.)
However, a trained ultrasound technician or doctor will be able to determine gender with great confidence by 18 weeks.
Should I find out the gender of my twins?
What if you want to keep your twins’ gender a surprise? Go for it!
You can easily keep the gender of your twins a surprise if you communicate that clearly with your medical staff at each ultrasound appointment.
One of your fellow father of twins, Kyle Mongold, and his wife kept their twins’ gender a secret with great success.
Be sure you also handle your family’s expectations, but ultimately, keeping the gender a surprise is up to you and your partner.
How Soon to Prepare for Twins
Many expectant twin parents wonder, “When can I find out the gender of my twins?” so they can start making preparations for a boy, girl, boy/girl twins.
It’s probably best to wait to make twin preparations until you’re past the first trimester when a lot of the risks of the initial pregnancy have ended.
You can always make non-gender-specific preparations for your twins by purchasing things like high chairs and other general baby gear. For example, you know your twins are going to need cribs regardless of whether they’re boys or girls. They will likewise need booster seats, strollers, diapers, and more items that are not gender-specific. Here’s list of some of my favorite twin gear.
(RELATED: The Twin Stroller Advisor helps you find the perfect double stroller for your family.)
Your medical situation may vary. So I definitely want you to talk to your doctor about when you can find out the gender of your babies. And if you are really curious, then I’d definitely ask early on in your twin pregnancy.
Read more of what to expect during the twin pregnancy in my book, the Dad’s Guide to Twins: How to Survive the Twin Pregnancy and Prepare for Your Twins.