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Friday
Feb172012

Do Twins Run In The Family? 

Fraternal Twins Cottrell and Estill (Steve's grandfather) Twins are so unique and special. Back in the fall of 2011 when Steve and I found out I was pregnant, never EVER did it cross my mind that it could be twins. Welllllll at our first ultrasound at 6 weeks we had the surprise of a lifetime- 2 babies! It's twins! Shocked, excited, overwhelmed- it was a scenario we never expected!

As soon as we started telling friends and family, the first or second question would always be, do twins run in your family?? A perfect question for a gal who has extensively researched her family tree! No twins in my tree at all, not one set that I've found. However on Steve's side, his paternal grandfather was a twin, his paternal great great grandmother was a twin, and his aunt has 2 sets of twin grandchildren. But after some twins research, I've learned that this common understanding we have of twins being associated with family genetics is more of a myth than a fact and is dependant on the type of twins, fraternal or identical.

Fraternal twins occur when 2 eggs are released from the ovaries and are fertilized by 2 separate sperm. When multiple eggs are commonly released during a woman's cycle it's called hyper-ovulation. Hyper-ovulation can be passed down a maternal line, which means fraternal twins found in a woman's maternal line can indicate this trait and the higher possibility of her having fraternal twins. As much as a guy would looove to take credit for the twinning- it's all about the woman's side! Identical twins or "spontaneous" twins are exactly that, a spontaneous random splitting of a fertilized egg creating 2 identical babies. From what I've read, they don't know what causes spontaneous twins and there is no family or genetic relation.

I'm now 15 weeks pregnant and we know we are having identical twin girls. I'm over the moon excited and happy.

If you have any interest in reading more about twins, here is a really good article from the Jan 2012 issue of National Geographic, A Thing or Two About Twins. It discusses the similarities and differences found in identical twins as they try to identify the role of DNA vs environment in these developments. Very interesting! I can't wait to start this life journey with my girls!

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Reader Comments (1)

Love this post! What a great way to share about your pregnancy!

It amazes me how much John looked like his grandfather Estill as a kid.

Feb 18, 2012 at 12:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterGretchen

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