The conception of a child used to occur by chance and was attributed to the divine. The chances of conception relied on factors like fertility, which could not be altered. Modern science, on the other hand, has helped alter these odds in favor of people who are looking to conceive.
For couples who are struggling to conceive, fertility drugs have become a common treatment option. Fertility drugs work by stimulating ovulation and increasing the chances of pregnancy.
While many couples use fertility drugs to enhance their chances of conceiving a single baby, some couples aim to conceive twins or even more babies. As of 2018, there are around 33 sets of twins born per 1,000 births in the United States.
The desire to conceive twins is often influenced by cultural, personal, or medical reasons. For some couples, having twins is a dream come true, while other couples may have a medical condition that makes it difficult for them to conceive, and fertility drugs offer a higher chance of success.
What are fertility drugs?
Fertility drugs are medications designed to help couples who find it difficult to get pregnant. These drugs work by regulating a woman's menstrual cycle and stimulating ovulation which, in turn, increases the chances of pregnancy.
There are various types of fertility drugs available, and the one that works for you will depend entirely on the specific fertility issues you face.
Clomiphene Citrate is one of the most commonly prescribed drugs for infertility. It works by blocking estrogen receptors, which triggers the release of Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH) and Luteinizing Hormone (LH) from the pituitary gland.
These hormones stimulate the ovaries to produce more eggs, increasing the chances of fertilization and pregnancy.
Gonadotropins are another type of fertility drug that is often used in conjunction with Clomiphene Citrate or on their own. Unlike Clomiphene Citrate, gonadotropins are injected rather than taken orally. They work by directly stimulating the ovaries to produce more eggs.
Fertility drugs are also used to increase the chances of pregnancy in other fertility treatments like Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) and, In Vitro fertilization (IVF). These treatments can potentially overcome infertility issues like low sperm count or blocked fallopian tubes.
While fertility drugs have helped many couples overcome their fertility issues and conceive a child, it is essential to understand that taking them doesn’t assure guaranteed success and can come with certain risks.
The use of fertility drugs can increase the chances of multiple pregnancies, which can lead to complications such as premature birth or low birth weight. Additionally, fertility drugs can cause side effects such as hot flashes, mood swings, and headaches.
Twins are two babies born at the same time to the same mother. There are two main types of twins: identical (monozygotic) and fraternal (dizygotic) twins.
Identical twins occur when a single fertilized egg splits into two embryos. This happens when the egg is fertilized by a single sperm, and the resulting zygote divides into two identical embryos.
Identical twins share the same genetic material and are always the same sex (with extremely few exceptions). They can also have very similar physical features, such as hair and eye color, although their personalities can be quite different.
Fraternal twins, on the other hand, occur when two separate eggs are fertilized by two different sperm. They are no more genetically similar than any other siblings and can be of the same or different sex. Fraternal twins can look quite different from each other and may not even appear to be related.
There are also some rarer types of twins, such as conjoined twins, which occur when the embryos do not fully separate, resulting in twins who are physically joined together.
The occurrence of twins is influenced by several factors, including age, family history, and fertility treatments.
Women over the age of 30 are more likely to conceive twins, as are those who have a family history of twins. Fertility treatments such as IVF can also increase the chances of conceiving twins, as multiple embryos may be implanted in the uterus.
How can fertility drugs be used to conceive twins?
Twins give couples the opportunity to have two kids for the effort of one. Naturally, conceiving twins is often seen as a blessing by most couples. It’s especially desired by couples who are struggling with fertility issues, as they can have a second child without having to go through further treatment.
While there is no guaranteed way to conceive twins, using fertility drugs can increase the likelihood of releasing multiple eggs and, therefore, the possibility of having twins.
However, it is important to understand that fertility drugs are not a guarantee of success, and they come with certain risks that must be considered.
Before deciding to use fertility drugs, it is important to speak with a healthcare provider about the potential risks and benefits. They will evaluate the couple's specific situation, including age, medical history, and fertility issues, to determine if fertility drugs are an appropriate option.
The most common fertility drugs used to induce ovulation and increase the likelihood of conceiving twins are Clomiphene Citrate and gonadotropins.
While using fertility drugs can increase the chances of having twins, it is important to understand that they can also increase the risk of other complications, including high-risk pregnancy, premature birth, low birth weight, and the need for a cesarean (C-section) delivery.
There are also risks associated with the fertility drugs themselves, including side effects such as hot flashes, mood swings, and headaches.
In rare cases, the use of fertility drugs can also lead to ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS), a potentially life-threatening condition that causes the ovaries to swell and become painful.
In addition to fertility drugs, there are other factors that can increase your chances of conceiving twins. These include:
As women age, the ovaries start releasing more than one egg during their menstrual cycle. This increases the chances of fraternal twins, as more than one egg might be available for fertilization.
ii). Family history
Some traits that lead to conceiving twins, such as releasing more than one egg, can be hereditary. Therefore, having a family history of conceiving twins can increase your chances of getting pregnant with twins.
iii). Folic acid
Folic acid is a vital supplement that is recommended to women who are looking to or are already pregnant. It helps the body produce cells and can help protect the baby’s development, especially its brain. Some preliminary studies have shown that folic acid may increase the chances of having multiple, including twins.
Eating a diet high in dairy products and yams may increase the chances of having twins, although the evidence is not conclusive. Some preliminary studies have also concluded that vegans are less likely to conceive twins.
v). In-vitro fertilization (IVF)
IVF can increase the chances of having twins, as multiple embryos are implanted in the uterus.
However, this also increases the risk of other complications, including a high-risk pregnancy and the need for a cesarean (C-section) delivery.
Some fertility drugs used to increase the chances of conceiving twins are:
Clomiphene Citrate (Clomid)
Clomid is a popular fertility drug that is often used to treat women with ovulation disorders or unexplained infertility.
It is an oral medication that works by blocking estrogen receptors which stimulate the production of Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH) and Luteinizing Hormone (LH) from the pituitary gland.
These hormones, in turn, stimulate the ovaries to produce more eggs, increasing the chances of fertilization and pregnancy.
Clomid is typically taken for five days into the menstrual cycle, starting on day three or day five. The dosage may vary depending on the woman's age, medical history, and other factors.
When used correctly, Clomid can increase the chances of having twins by up to 10%, as it aids in the release of multiple eggs from the ovaries.
Gonadotropins are injectable medications that contain FSH and LH, directly stimulating the ovaries to produce more eggs.
They are often used in conjunction with Clomid or on their own and are typically administered daily for up to 12 days, starting on the second or third day of the menstrual cycle.
As with Clomid, it is important to follow the dosing instructions carefully and to consult with your healthcare provider frequently.
Gonadotropins can increase the chances of having twins or other multiples, as they stimulate the ovaries to produce multiple eggs.
However, they also increase the risk of complications such as Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS), which is characterized by the swelling of the ovaries and can be life-threatening if left untreated.
Letrozole is a medication that is often used to treat breast cancer, but it can also be used to induce ovulation in women with infertility. Like Clomid, Letrozole blocks estrogen receptors and stimulates the production of FSH and LH.
Studies have shown that Letrozole may be more effective than Clomid at inducing ovulation and increasing the chances of pregnancy, including the chances of having twins.
Letrozole is typically taken for five days into the menstrual cycle, starting on day three or day five. It is important to follow the dosage instructions carefully and to consult with your healthcare provider frequently.
Bromocriptine is a medication that is often used to treat hyperprolactinemia, a condition in which the pituitary gland produces too much prolactin. It can also be used to induce ovulation in women with infertility.
Bromocriptine works by reducing the levels of prolactin in the body, which can interfere with ovulation.
While there is no conclusive evidence that Bromocriptine increases the chances of having twins, it may be used in combination with other fertility drugs to improve the chances of ovulation and conception.
A child is considered a blessing by many, and twins are regarded as double the blessing (by most). It is also a convenient way of having more children for people battling fertility issues.
It is easy to understand why twins are desired by many people looking to become parents. However, if you are someone who wants to conceive twins for vanity, it is advisable not to pursue it.
It is important to remember that while fertility drugs can increase your chances of having twins, it doesn’t guarantee it. Therefore, it is important to manage expectations when trying and to keep in mind that conceiving a single child should be met with as much joy.
It is also vital to consult your doctor before taking any fertility drugs or following any other method to conceive twins. Fertility drugs can have interactions with other medications you are taking and can also have side effects.
It is important to discuss all these aspects with your doctor to find the right combination of medication and lifestyle changes that you can implement to get the desired results.
Following a plan recommended by your doctor and making healthy lifestyle changes may help you hit two birds with one stone!
Q1: What are fertility drugs?
Ans: Fertility drugs are medications designed to increase the level of fertility in women who are looking to conceive. They help stimulate healthier ovulation by correcting factors like hormonal balance, menstrual cycle, and egg quality.
Q2: How do fertility drugs increase the chances of conceiving twins?
Ans: Fraternal twins are dizygotic and occur when two separate eggs are fertilized by different sperm. This occurs when ovaries release multiple eggs. Fertility drugs are designed to aid ovulation and, in the right combination, can lead to two or more eggs being released.
Q3: What are the most commonly prescribed fertility drugs for conceiving twins?
Ans: The most commonly prescribed fertility drugs for conceiving twins are gonadotropins, such as Follistim, Gonal-F, and Bravelle. However, Gandotropins are known to have side effects and must be taken only after a detailed discussion with your doctor.
Q4: How are fertility drugs administered?
Ans: Fertility drugs can be administered via injection. Your doctor will provide instructions on how to administer the medication, and it can be self-administered by yourself at home.
Q5: Are there any risks or side effects associated with taking fertility drugs?
Ans: Yes, fertility drugs can increase the risk of multiple pregnancies, which can lead to complications such as premature delivery and low birth weight. Other potential side effects of fertility drugs include headaches, hot flashes, mood swings, and abdominal discomfort. This is why we keep reiterating that consulting your doctor is of the utmost importance before putting yourself on any medication.
Q6: Are there any lifestyle changes that can increase the chances of conceiving twins?
Ans: There are no proven lifestyle changes that can increase the chances of conceiving twins. However, some research suggests that women who consume dairy products and who have a higher Body Mass Index (BMI) may have a slightly higher chance of conceiving twins. The chances of having twins also increase with age, so maybe wait a few birthdays.
Q7: How long does it typically take to conceive with fertility drugs?
Ans: The length of time it takes to conceive with fertility drugs varies on the individual's fertility and other factors. Some women may conceive within the first few cycles of treatment, while others may require multiple cycles or more aggressive treatments.
It is important to stay in the moment and enjoy the process instead of creating too much pressure on the result. It is also important that you welcome conceiving a single child with as much love as you would have for twins.
Q8: Are there any alternative methods for conceiving twins?
Ans: While there are no guaranteed methods for conceiving twins, some couples may consider alternative options such as In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) with embryo transfer or natural methods such as timing intercourse during ovulation. IVF, combined with the right fertility drugs, has worked for a lot of parents and is an option you can discuss with your healthcare provider.