Twins, yams or genetics?

It seems as though my life is overcome with info about twins right now. I suppose that is because I am taking three psych classes this semester, two of which are HDFS so yeah families. But this also reminded me of a video one of the various people on YouTube I follow posted a few years back. About twins, which made sense cause he is a twin. So what causes twin births? I already know but I find the topic interesting and worth a discussion.JacksGap


So those little bundles of joy catch everyone off guard right? Ehhhh, well they shouldn’t, completely. How you live and your environment will affect the chance of a mother having twins. Most people know that there are two types of twins identical-the same egg that splits and fraternal-two eggs fertilized at the same time (essentially siblings). One big factor of the increasing-yes increasing-rate of twins is drumroll-SOCIETY. As women get older their bodies tend to release more eggs as a kind of last-ditch effort to pass on their genetic code. No lie. According to “As you get older, hormonal changes make it more likely that your body will release more than one egg at a time. And more than one fertilized egg often means more than one baby.” So as women are waiting longer and longer to have babies, they are actually having more multiple births than women of the past have. Age is not the only factor.


Continuing on with they explain that heredity plays a small role as well as number of kids you already have-if you have kids already you have a greater chance of having twins, race also plays a role-African American women tend to have higher rates of twin pregnancy. Babycenter


ARSM Patient Education Booklet also said these same things and touches on the dangers of multiple pregnancies.

“Although uncommon in twin deliveries, about 20% of triplet pregnancies will result in the delivery of at least one child with a major long-term handicap. Preterm delivery places an infant at increased risk for severe complications or early death. A baby’s lungs, brain, circulatory system, intestinal system, and eyes may be not fully developed.” ARSM Patient Booklet


If you’ve ever seen Grey’s Anatomy (Ladies) which I grudgingly began to watch after I finished House (BEST SHOW), you may remember the episode with a mother of quintuplets and how her babies were all born with issues and at least one died from complications. More was covered on the importance of weight at birth

“The overall survival rate is 85% for newborns over 2 lb., 3 oz. (1,000 grams) but less than 40% for those under 2 lb., 3 oz. Birth weight also corresponds closely to the severity of disability throughout the childhood years.”

Women with multiple pregnancies must be closely monitored and given special prenatal care and caution before and after birth.


Learning disabilities are also a consequence of multiple births. “The California Autism Twins Study suggests environmental influences, which could include parental age, low birth weight, multiple births, and maternal infections during pregnancy may greatly increase risk for ASD.” Autism Speaks .org  So multiple births can lead to Autism Spectrum Disorder.

“The study involved 192 pairs of twins, both identical and non-identical, where at least one of the twins in the pair had autism. This approach allowed the researchers to look at how often both children in the twin pair received a diagnosis of autism.  Study of identical twins, who share 100 percent of their genes, helps researchers determine the degree to which a disorder is inherited, or genetic; and comparison to fraternal twins, who share around 50 percent of their DNA, allows researchers to understand how environmental influences add to the risk of ASD.”

The important finding was that “Because the prenatal environment and early postnatal environment are shared between twins, it is believed that at least some of the environmental factors affecting susceptibility to autism exert their effect during these critical periods of life.” My HDFS classes focus a lot on how even though we are predisposition with genetics to everything from likes and dislikes to a fatal disease, how we are raised and where can impact out lives profoundly; especially in early life. We are born as helpless infants, brought too early into this world our mind grows and develops outside the womb dramatically. This development is crucial to our future- how often your mother holds you or how she feeds you can affect your later relationships-look up infant attachment.


The rising prevalence of IVF (in vitro fertilization) also leads to multiple pregnancies especially no that methods are almost guaranteed to take. Many people overestimate how many embryos are necessary and end up with multiple pregnancies. WE must take advances in science and medicine into account to prevent unwanted multiple pregnancies. Desperation leads to carelessness.


The autisms spectrum disorder study is still in an early phase and must be seen as such. Unknown confounding variables will most likely play a part. So it is impossible to say for sure, though they have a solid foundation to build upon.

1 thought on “Twins, yams or genetics?

  1. Rana Mohamed

    After reading your blog, I learned about how third variables affect the chance of having twins. I did some research to find out what other illnesses can be found in twins and found out about Twin Transfusion Syndrome which occurs in identical twins. This disease occurs because the twins share the placenta and at times one twin may have a smaller share and not receive all the nutrients it needs to develop. According to the Twin Transfusion Syndrome Foundation, ” the timing of the twinning event, the number and type of connecting vessels, and the way the placenta is shared by the twins are all random events that have no primary prevention (see section on The Monochorionic Placenta), is not hereditary or genetic, nor is it caused by anything the parents did or did not do. TTTS can happen to anyone.” It is astonishing to learn about how while something as having twins can be miraculous (I know science is about explaining everything naturally, but I still believe in miracles) can have issues.

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