I know a lady who just got married last year. Her older brother has two sets of twins, which I have been told were conceived via IVF.
Whenever we happen to meet and have a few minutes to talk, we invariably end up talking about twins and how she would like to have twins of her own. My answer to that had always been, “It’s in your blood already, so there is a probability that you will have them.”
I kept saying that for some time, until she asked me if I knew that her brother had the two sets of twins via assisted reproductive technique? Apparently, it was no news, as it was not a hidden fact, except that slow me didn’t catch up on the gist about town.
Okay, so I finally get it. She wants twins, but unlike I have been saying, it might not really be ‘in her blood’ after all. Still wanting to reassure her, I asked about her husband’s family, and it turns out her father-in-law is a twin, the first born twin. I was like “Case closed. You’re having twins. The connection is just too close.” Don’t mind me and my feeling like God.
This conversation took place late last year, but the reactions that followed the announcement of Beyonce’ twin pregnancy is just too absurd to ignore the apparent mindset that lady obviously had, and which many people hold, that to have twins nowadays, you must have gone through IVF.
Yes, there had been rumours of fertility treatments where the singer was concerned, but the speculation that she conceived her twins via IVF has been rife in the days following her announcement. Without her saying anything, some people have decided that she couldn’t possibly have gotten pregnant with twins without any sort of outside help. Really?
Well, let me tell you about a mother of triplets; two boys and a girl. They are three years old now. I met them a few days after they had been born, during my active journalism days. I had been asked to do a story on them, and possibly see if some help can come the way of their parents who, at that time, included an unemployed father and a mother who worked for a big grocery store. Both were not in their 20s, by the way, so you can discount youth from the equation also.
So, you can imagine that, between them, they barely had enough to take care of themselves, talk less of having funds to expend on fertility treatments, especially the grandfather of them all, IVF! Not likely.
I remember I specifically asked the mother of the triplets if she had used any fertility drugs that could have boosted her chances of conception. But the answer was no. Are there multiples in her family? The answer was yes. And that says it all.
Having twins in a family, either on the husband’s or wife’s side, goes a long way in determining the possibility of conceiving twins. And the closer the twin’s connection are to the aspiring parents, the greater the odds of conception.
Now, let me tell you about another mom, Yinka, who had twins after a nine-year hiatus. Everyone had thought she was done with having babies. Sometimes, I think she had thought she was done too, as she was fond of calling her hitherto last child, “Lastborn.” So, when she started showing, lots of side eyes greeted the bump, including mine. So this lady was still in this business, I had thought.
This pregnancy was a special one. Her sole craving was garri, so you could find her carrying a covered cup of the stuff around with her everywhere. Garri was also the one thing that subdued her nine-month long nausea.
You see, all our side eyes turned into full eyeball stares, when we heard that she had twins. Two boys!!! I was in the company of people who also knew her, when the news of her childbirth reached me, and the reactions went, “Twins after how many children?”
“Awww, and she just wanted one oh.”
“It would have been better if she had had the twins first oh, instead of last born.”
“This one is double promotion, from two to four. Na wa!”
And the comments went on. Yinka was almost 40, when she had those twins. Her last child before them was born a week to her 31st birthday.
And no, she didn’t do IVF. She just wanted one for the road.
The point that the people who think that multiples are only as a result of IVF are missing is, the chance of having twins or multiples goes up as a woman gets older. Even if the conception is without reproductive assistance.
Experts say it has something to do with “advanced maternal age,” a term Ob/Gyns and fertility specialists use to refer to a mother who is 35 years old or older at the time of her child’s birth.
Apparently, a woman’s chance of having naturally occurring twins increases fourfold from age 15 to 35. Basically, a woman releases more of the hormone, follicle stimulation hormone (FSH) as she grows older, which increases the odds of follicles releasing more than one egg in a cycle.
Meanwhile, women in general are waiting longer to have children and relying more on assisted reproductive technology, which also increases their odds of having twins. That technology ranges from follicle-stimulating drugs like Clomid, which increases a woman’s risk of having multiples, to IVF.
But to now conclude that a woman, who has twins after 35 years of age, must have used IVF or other fertility treatment is not only rude, it is presumptuous.
At this point, it is important to stress the fact that whether it is IVF-conceived or naturally conceived, a baby is a baby is a baby…and that is all that is important.
In Chrissy Teigen’s voice, “Stay out of my uterus!”
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