Everyone seems to be fascinated by them, everyone seems to want to have them and everyone definitely has wondered what it would be like to be one. Yep, that's right, we are talking about identical twins. Whether you fear having two babies at the same time or it would be a dream come true, at one point or another most women have wondered, "What if I had identical twins?" For those women, this article might spark particular interest.
Years of research show that "Identical Twins occur when a single egg is fertilized by a single sperm to form one zygote (monozygotic) but the zygote then divides into two separate embryos" unlike fraternal/non-identical twins.
Some people reading this may think they know all there is to know about identical twins or that yeah they are great because they look the same but what else is interesting about identical twins? This article is here to inform every one of the amazingly mesmerizing facts about these miracle double acts. Some facts may surprise even those with identical twins in their family or dare I say it, identical twins themselves may learn some new facts about their and their sibling's DNA and background.
15 They Have Unique Prints
Fingerprints are unique for everyone and that includes identical twins. They may share looks, DNA, parents, clothes and well, pretty much everything but not those markings on their fingers. Why? According to sciencefocus.co, there is a simple explanation for this difference in identical twins.
"Fingerprints are formed semi-randomly as the fetus develops in the womb and are affected by such things as fluctuations of hormone levels. Similarly, the pattern of freckles and moles on the skin is caused by random mutations and will vary between identical twins". Something that is barely noticeable and impossible to see via the naked eye but a big difference none the less and now you know why it happens.
14 Telepathic Communication
Identical twin girls in matching outfits, gloves and bobble hats? What could be cuter! I actually have the privilege of knowing these two gorgeous twins, whose lovely mother has helped me with this article by answering some questions. Abigail and Ava-Grace are now 1 year old and, like many twins, bonded from the start and have now began to create their own way of communicating with each other. "They definitely chat to each other" Abigail and Ava-Grace's mom revealed to me, "They copy each other all the time when they think something is funny. You can see they understand each other 100%".
This is common when it comes identical twins because they grow and learn together from before they even enter the world. There is something quite magical about a language that only the two of you can understand and hopefully that secret 'twin language' will last a lifetime.
13 Single-Gender Pairs
Are you dreaming of having identical twins but the opposite sexes (one boy and one girl)? Well, I'm sorry to tell you that this is not possible because identical twins are always the same sex. Yes, despite what some people choose to believe, identical twins are always either two boys or two girls. Even if you have a boy and a girl and they look identical to you, they will still be fraternal (non-identical).
Research shows, "Identical (mono-zygotic) twins are always of the same sex because they form from a single zygote (fertilized egg) that contains either male (XY) or female (XX) sex chromosomes". I hope that makes it clear to you and sorry to any mums or dads of boy and girl twins who were so sure they were identical, I didn't mean to burst your bubble. I bet they are still cute though.
12 Identical Twins Skip A Generation... Sort Of
Are you confused? Let me explain and hopefully, you will understand. It is a common saying that 'twins skip a generation', so common that it is often thought of as a fact but the truth is it is the total opposite.
The understanding that 'twins skip a generation' is a myth but there is a reason that this myth came about and let's say it isn't exactly wrong. Statistics and biology show that if a woman becomes pregnant and births twin boys, that twin gene is passed onto the sons but it does not affect males because they do not release eggs or ovulate. But then if one or both of those twins have a daughter/s, and if that daughter was to get pregnant she would likely have twins because the twin gene would have been passed on again and it does affect females. Thus, giving the illusion of identical twins skipping a generation.
11 Are They Mirror Images?
"You're the mirror image of each other" is a sentence that I am sure many identical twins or parents of identical twins have heard time and time again. This may seem like a passing statement made by the many people fascinated by identical twins but it is also a fact that some identical twins are just that, "mirror twins".
Baby's wriggle around a lot in the womb whether that be one, two three or more babies but when it comes to identical twins often they develop facing each other. Identical twins that develop facing each other become each other's literal mirror image. The official description of mirror twins being "Mirror image twins are monozygotic, twins that form from a single fertilized egg. When the split occurs late (meaning they would be facing each other) - more than a week after conception - the twins can develop reverse asymmetric features".
10 How Likely Is It Mom Will Have Identical Twins?
Listen up those of you who are praying for a twin pregnancy or multiple births because this statistic will let you know your odds. Studies show that 1 in 250 pregnancies result in identical twins, so it's not that common. In fact, it is pretty rare which is why the sight of twins often sends the public into a frenzy. Sorry if that isn't the uplifting statistic you were hoping for but who knows you could hit the jackpot and the miracle of twins could be yours.
Things that may up your chances of having twins (not necessarily identical) include, carrying the twin gene/having twins in your family and some fertility treatments. But don't be down if having twins isn't on the card for you because having one baby is just as magical.
Enjoying these eye-opening identical twin facts? Well, we have a lot more where that came from and the next one includes a creature just as cute as a baby (maybe even more!).
9 Clever Dogs
So adorable...oh and the twins are cute too. I'm kidding, of course - the twins and the dog are both equally as sweet but together they are an unstoppable force of cuteness.
The one dilemma when it comes to identical twins is that it can be very difficult to tell them apart and remember who is who. I am sure there have been a few name switches over the years which is many identical twin parents' biggest fear. So to stop this name swapping phobia from becoming a reality maybe you should get a dog because it is a known fact that dogs can always tell identical twins apart.
The reason dogs can tell identical twins apart is because they have a heightened sense of smell meaning that the individual smells of the twins separate them from each other. So if one twin grows up to get a dog you can bet that the dog won't be confused as to who their owner is when the other twin shows up to the house for dinner.
8 Mind Readers
As close to superpowers as we are ever going to get- or at least that we know of- might just be the powers of identical twins. Identical twins are in essence, mind readers and can a lot of the time tell what each other is thinking which is why they constantly finish each other's sentences or have the same ideas.
In the picture above is another friend of mine, Holly and her twin sister, Bethany (who knew I would know so many identical twins) they were nice enough to talk to me about their relationship. "We just think alike. For example one of us will think something is cute or weird and we will just know the other one thinks the same. It's not that we can read each other's minds, it's not a superpower, but we will know what the other one is thinking. It's been that way since we were younger" Holly told me.
7 It's A Mystery
Halfway through the article now and still lots of weird and interesting facts about identical twins to come. This entry, however, is less of a fact and more of a mystery due to the unknown reasons identical twins exist.
Truthfully, identical twins are actually an abnormality in pregnancy and it is by chance that this miracle occurs. Fraternal twins have reason and logic behind why they happen but when it comes to identical twins at some point the egg just splits and there is no known reason behind it. These double acts outsmarting us from the start, they are a true phenomenon. Sure the twin gene seems to be able to be passed down through generation but that still does not explain why identical twins occurred in the first place. Feel free to insert any and all of your conspiracy theories here.
6 They Live Long Lives
We all wish to stay young forever and avoid our inevitable aging and death and although this cannot be stopped, it can be postponed and identical twins are part of that lucky bracket of people who cheat the length of life. Identical twins often live longer than the other single babies that are born as well as also their fellow double acts, fraternal twins.
The reason behind this is thought to be in the bond between identical twins being stronger than fraternal twins. The same effect was found in the life expectancy difference between married couples and singletons - married couples seem to live longer. So there you have it folks, identical twin or not, the secret to a long life seems to be companionship. So whether your soul mate is a twin, parent, animal, friend, child or lover, cling to them as they could be the reason you live until you're 100.
5 Nature Wins
Separated at birth, it sounds like something from a movie - The Parent Trap for example. As great of a film that is and how amazing Lindsay Lohan was at playing the two separated twins with opposite personalities, it could not be farther from reality.
Studies show that when identical twins separated from each other at birth they often have shockingly similar personalities, strengths, weaknesses, and personal preferences. Some even go into the same career and there are other coincidences too strange to make up. Many scientists use these statistics to sway the public towards the nature side of the nature vs nurture debate and I have to say that although I have always been a supporter of Nurture (and still am), it is hard to argue with these facts. Does nature really decide who we are? According to these identical twin separation stats, it does.
4 Terrible Twin Morning Sickness
Watch out, moms-to-be of identical twins… the morning sickness is coming. And by morning sickness, you know I mean all-day, everyday sickness. It's bad enough for when you are expecting one child but pregnant women who are expecting two tend to have higher levels of morning sickness, likely because of increased levels of the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG). So keep what you can down and stay hydrated - hopefully, it won't last past the first trimester.
One mom I spoke to decided to share her story with me, "I was constantly sick and couldn't even go into the kitchen let alone eat anything substantial. At one point I was admitted to hospital because I was so weak and malnourished, worth it for my two perfect twin boys though." Sounds like she had a right rough time but all was good in the end.
3 New Type Of Twins
Scientists make new discoveries every day and one of the latest discoveries in the human world is a new type of identical twin- a semi-identical twin. Which in simpler terms means twins that are half identical and half fraternal. Confused? I was too, at first.
Semi-identical twins can be boy/boy, boy/girl or girl/girl, the discovery was made when a set of opposite-sex twins came into a hospital in 2007 for unrelated testing. According to the research, there are two theories about how these semi-identical twins happened. "The mother's egg divided itself and was then fertilized by two separate sperm – one with a Y (boy) chromosome and one with an X (girl) chromosome", and, " The mother's egg was fertilized by two separate sperm and then divided into two separate embryos". It could be a fluke or may have happened to many other twins and we just didn't know about it, whatever the case it is just another miracle of birth and shows the amazing things our bodies can do.
2 Older Women Aren't More Likely To Have Identical Twins
You have probably heard that older woman in the age bracket 35 years and above, are more likely to have twins and while this is true when it comes to fraternal twins, it is false for identical twins. Women 35 years of age and above are more likely to have fraternal - non-identical - twins because of the increased amount of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) that they produce in comparison to a younger woman but this does not affect their likelihood of becoming pregnant and birthing identical twins, unfortunately. This being why identical twins are the rarest type of twins, they are really a fluke/random occurrence which makes them all the more special.
So if you were focusing on your career and putting off getting pregnant till 35 years old or older because you wanted identical twins, I am sorry to say that that fact is not true but who knows you might have fraternal twins or larger sets of multiples? You will just have to wait and see.
1 Two Placentas
Last but not least is an interesting fact that stems straight from the womb where the little twins are developing. The placenta is key to a fetus surviving no matter how many babies a woman is carrying, most of the time only one placenta develops and that is all that is needed for baby or babies to thrive in their mothers body until their birth but in some cases each twin can develop their own placenta instead of having to share one between them.
Statistically, "In 18–30% of monozygotic twins (identical twins) each fetus has a separate placenta and a separate amniotic sac", that may be a higher percentage than you might have thought but it is true. Fraternal twins always have separate placentas and amniotic sacks. A woman's body really does have superpowers and creates the most amazing miracles.
Sources: healthychildren.org, twinsuk.co.uk