As a twinmom, people always ask if there are twins in the family. It’s common knowledge, but how do twins run in families?

We’ve all heard twins run in families, but few people really know why, how, or if twins are genetic.

So let’s answer the question, if and why do twins tend to run in families?

The answer depends on a few variables, and the first of those variables is whether the twins are identical or fraternal. While there are some outliers, like semi-identical twins, most twins will fall into two categories: identical or fraternal.

Identical vs. Fraternal Twins

The first thing to tackle is explaining how identical and fraternal twins are formed in the womb because this has a big impact on the genetics of twins.

Identical twins started out as one single egg that split into two.

Fraternal twins were always two separate eggs that were released.

So a woman only needs to release a single egg to have identical twins but would need to release two eggs to have fraternal twins.

This distinction is important and something to keep in mind when talking about whether twins really do run in families.

The simple answer is when it comes to identical twins they are never due to genetic factors. Whether a single egg splits into two, creating twins, has not been shown to be linked to anything genetic.

When twins *might* be genetic

Fraternal twins however might be related to the genetics of the mother only. Whether twins run in the father’s family is immaterial to the question of whether twins are genetic. Why?

The genetic factor that impacts fraternal twins is if the mother tends to hyperovulate.

Hyperovulation, or releasing more than one egg by ovulating multiple times in one cycle, IS known to run in families.

This hyperovulation is what creates the necessary environment for fraternal twins, multiple eggs.

So yes. Twins are genetic… sometimes.

Fraternal twins are sometimes genetic when hyperovulation runs in the mother’s family. But just to reiterate, identical twins are NOT genetic.

Also, the dad’s family history has no impact on whether a couple will have twins. Remember, it’s because of the mom’s hyperovulation that twins might be born due to a family trait in genetics. So, only a mother’s genetics can impact whether she has twins.

There you have it. Know you know whether twins are genetic. The answer to the question, do twins run in families, is solved. And in case you wondered, my twins are identical. So NOT genetic. Just lucky.

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