The Odds of Being Twins

With many large familes, you’re almost guarunteed to have at least one set of multiples. In my family’s case, we have a set of twin boys: Jake and John. Now age 19, no doctor or OBGYN was able to tell my parents whether they were identical or fraternal twins.

John (left) and Jake circa age 4

Jake and John (left), age 18


How twins are born: The simple story is that twins are either monozygotic, which means they form from one zygote (initial cell, or egg, that is the result of sexual reproduction) and are therefore identical. Or, they could be dizygotic, which means that each twin formed from their zygotes, which were fertilized by two different sperm. In the U.S., there are only 33 twin births for every 1,000 singleton (or single child) births.

Because a woman’s uterus is only so big, twins are rarely carried for the full 40 weeks of the pregnancy, as Jake and John were. Most twins are considered to be full term at or befroe 37 weeks. Twins tend to come out smaller (average weight is 5.5 lbs) and are more at risk to be born premature, than singletons. Pamela Prindle Fierro describes how preparing for potential complications can better protect the mother and fetuses.

Isbac Pacunda and his father, Leonidas. (AP Photo/Karel Navarro)

Not to scare anyone currently carrying twins, but one in 500,000 births will result in one baby absorbing its twin, while in the womb. This can sometimes happen because one twin becomes parasitic to the other, living off of its nutrients. This is the case with one Peruvian child, who’s parasitic twin lives inside him, feeding off of his blood supply.

Another incredible twin statistic? The Durrant family has also achieved the status of being 1 in 500,000. Jamie Pyatt tells the story of how one family has managed to have two sets of female twins. Here’s the crazy part: Within both sets of twins, one has white skin, red hair and blue eyes like their mother, and the other twin has black hair and skin like their father.

And sometimes being a twin has even more perks. ABC Nightline reporter Juju Chang has done plenty of research on the phenomene of “Twin-Tuition”. Here we meet psychic twins who have reportedly predicted many things, including the 9/11 attacks and natural disasters. Chang also delves into some research on telepathic bonds between twins. I see how little interaction my twin brothers need to get their point or message across to eachother, although they’d never admit to sharing such an intimate connection. So twins, tell us, are you able to finish your twin’s sentences? And is it telepathy, or do you just owe it to knowing them so incredibly well…afterall, you have known eachother your entire lives.


About Sarah Cordonier

I am a junior Television Journalism and International Studies Major at West Virginia University. I am currently taking Beginning Television Reporting and I plan on taking Advanced Television Reporting in the Spring, as a member of WVU News. Someday I would like to work abroad, as an overseas reporter.
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