By Abayomi Ajayi
In vitro fertilisation is one type of assisted reproductive technology. It involves using medical intervention to conceive. If you opt for IVF you may also be prescribed fertility medications before the procedure to increase your chances of getting pregnant.
For IVF, your eggs and your partner’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 your 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 transferred during IVF. This raises the likelihood of having twins.
You can conceive twins with fertility drugs because medications designed to increase fertility typically work by boosting the number of eggs produced in your ovaries. If more eggs are produced, it’s also likely that more than one can be released and fertilised. 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. Common drugs such as Clomid and Seraphene are taken orally depending on your individual needs. These drugs work by stimulating your hormones to cause ovulation. If you use this drug for fertility treatment you are more likely to have twins than if you didn’t take the drug.
Gonadotropins are a type of fertility medication given by injection. Follicle-stimulating hormone is given by itself or combined with luteinising hormone. Both hormones are made naturally by the brain and your ovaries to produce one egg each month.
When given as an injection, FSH (with or without LH) tells your ovaries to produce multiple eggs, and because your body is making more eggs, there is a higher chance that more than one will become fertilised. Both of these drugs are generally considered safe and effective but consult with your doctor for potential risks and side effects. It is a known fact that family history plays a role in increasing your chances of having multiple.
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 you as a woman that has fraternal twins in your family. This is because you’re more likely to have inherited the gene that makes you release more than one egg at a time.
Some research has shown that differences in the ethnic background can impact your chances of having twins. As a black, you are more likely to have twins than other races. Nigerian women are known to have the highest rate of twin births in the world.
If you are over age 30, or in your late 30s, you have a greater chance of having twins and other multiples. That’s because you are more likely to release more than one egg during ovulation than younger women. Mothers between ages 35 and 40 who already have given birth have an even higher chance of conceiving twins. You might want to know if your height or weight is a factor that makes you more likely to have twins or not.
Will you conceive twins if you’re taking supplements? This is a good question. Taking folic acid for instance, it is a B vitamin. It is recommended to be taken before and during pregnancy to reduce the risk of neural tube defects like spina bifida. Prior to becoming pregnant, doctors recommend that you take about 400 micrograms of folic acid per day and increase this amount to 600 micrograms during pregnancy.
There has been some evidence that suggests folic acid may increase the likelihood of conceiving multiples. But there aren’t any large-scale studies to confirm that this increases your chances for multiples. If you are trying to get pregnant, taking folic acid will help protect your baby’s brain development.
It is not impossible that you may conceive twins if you are breastfeeding. Women who are breastfeeding and pregnant may be more likely to conceive twins, but there isn’t additional study to support this information. So, breastfeeding isn’t considered to be a factor that increases your likelihood to conceive twins.
While a healthy diet can help you grow a baby after conception, eating certain foods doesn’t mean you’ll have multiple.
Twins happen naturally in about one out of every 250 pregnancies, but the rate is much higher in women who get fertility treatments. Approximately one out of every three pregnancies with fertility treatments will be multiples, although this is reducing all over the world as we transfer less number of embryos.
Pregnancies with twins and multiples are considered higher risk than single pregnancies. If you do get pregnant with twins, you’ll likely need frequent doctor visits so you can be closely monitored.
While you are more likely to conceive twins if you use fertility medications and other assistive reproduction techniques, there are chances of conceiving twins naturally too. The factors that can increase your likelihood of conceiving twins are getting pregnant after age 30 and/or having a family history of twins. But you can conceive twins without any of these factors.
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