Science has made it possible for many eager couples to become parents through assisted reproductive technologies. IVF, or in-vitro fertilization, is the most widely used and successful type of ART.
And because it’s an assisted reproductive technology, people often theorize whether there is a chance of “engineering” twins through IVF, or if the chances of conceiving twins through this treatment are higher. We’ve got you covered on that ‒ let’s dig deeper into the subject.
What is IVF?
In-vitro fertilization is a sophisticated procedure intended to improve fertility, control hereditary conditions, and aid in child conception.
IVF involves removing mature eggs from the ovaries and fertilizing them in a laboratory with sperm. In the following step, the fertilized eggs are placed into the uterus. IVF cycles are completed in around 28 days.
The process is possible with the use of the couple’s own sperm and eggs. A known or unknown donor’s eggs, sperm, or embryos may also be used during IVF.
IVF consists of numerous processes, including ovarian stimulation, egg and sperm cell retrieval, fertilization, and embryo transfer. It can take more than one IVF cycle to conceive and implant a healthy embryo successfully.
Can IVF result in conceiving twins?
IVF doesn’t always result in significantly elevated chances of twin pregnancy. While this statement is true, some statistical context is needed to see the bigger picture. Women who use IVF are more likely than women who conceive naturally to experience twin or even triplet pregnancy.
The common practice of transferring many embryos at once during an IVF cycle is the primary cause. Most fertility specialists frequently transplanted numerous embryos until recently with the goal of increasing the chances of success.
The number of embryos with chromosomal aberrations often increases as a woman matures since egg quality begins to deteriorate over time. In the hopes that at least one embryo would survive, it was thought that implanting two or more embryos at once could enhance the likelihood of conception. And this is how twin or triplet pregnancies frequently occur from the successful implantation of numerous embryos.
What affects the chances of conceiving twins with IVF?
Most people know that twin pregnancies are more common when fertility medications are used. Yet, there are other factors contributing to the rise of twin and higher-order births than reproductive therapies.
- Twin pregnancies are more common in women over 35. This is because follicle-stimulating hormone levels increase with parental age. Before eggs are removed from the ovaries, they develop there with the help of FSH. People need more FSH as they become older because their eggs need more stimulation to expand than they did when they were younger. Multiple pregnancies can occur when the follicles respond to elevated FSH levels, releasing two or more eggs that become fertilized later.
- Although the children of identical twins might be more likely to produce their own identical twins, a family history doesn’t guarantee you will have multiples. Yet, your chances of having twins increase if there are fraternal twins in your family. Your chances of having twins increase even more if either of your parents or the egg or sperm donor, has fraternal twins. Genetics work like that ‒ the closer the twins are in your family tree, the higher chances you have.
- Twins are more likely to be conceived in heavier individuals. Excess body fat normally causes estrogen levels to rise, and greater estrogen levels can cause the ovaries to become overstimulated. Instead of releasing only one egg during ovulation, the ovaries might produce two or more. While there may be a higher chance of having twins, being overweight might also make it more challenging to get pregnant overall.
If you are expecting multiples, you’re more likely to have certain complications in your pregnancy, which marks it as a “high-risk.” Women who expect twins are more prone to the development of preeclampsia, anemia, and gestational diabetes.
Although there are certain risks, it doesn’t mean twin pregnancy isn’t normal or healthy. Everything can go smoothly, although you still have to be supervised more closely by medical personnel to ensure everything’s alright. Also, note that most twin pregnancies end with C-sections a bit earlier than single ones ‒ depending on the type of twins, it can be done either at 32 or at 37 weeks of gestational age.
Despite the risks, many of the factors that raise your chances of becoming pregnant with twins are outside of your direct control.