Can fraternal twins be genetic?

Hi there, just curious as to whether fraternal twins can run in the family, or if it’s usually just a fluke that someone has fraternal twins.

The reason I ask is that I am a fraternal twin and there are no other twins in either of my parents’ families that we know of, at least 4 generations back.

Someone on a different board that I post on says that it is genetic to have f.twins. Is this true?

Well, this midwife mentions a lot of factors affecting the frequency of fraternal twins, including race and age, but doesn’t mention family history.

But this link from the same site says that two-egg twinning passes down female-to-female through the generations.

So it sounds like that there could be a genetic factor, but that it is just as likely to have been a fluke.

PS: Welcome to the boards!

My mother has told me it is hereditary and skips a generation, meaning that as she’s a fraternal twin, I would be in line to have a pair myself. IF it’s true, and IF I have children, of course.

My wife was pregnant last year with twins before miscarrying, she’s a fraternal twin, and her father is a fraternal twin.

Likelihood of fraternal twinning is hereditary (although that doesn’t guarantee that a twin will twin-- it’s just an increased chance). Look up stats on the Yoruba, an ethnic group in Nigeria that culturally decided some time ago that to marry a twin was desirable, and now their fraternal twinning rates are very high. Apparently though, if my memory serves me, identical twinning is not hereditary.

just suggesting that “my mom” shouldn’t count as a cite here…

Welcome aboard Kimberley.


Probably not! But she’s interested in the twinning thing - being one - and has read up extensively on it over the years, so I respect what she’s told me on it as probably deriving from some medical article, rather than an Old Wive’s Tale.

Now my mother would really hate to be described as an Old Wife…

So far as I know, there’s no gene that follows a regular pattern of alternating generations. Usually, when folks refer to a gene as “skipping a generation”, they mean that it’s sporadic whether or not it’s expressed.

As a father of twins, I was exposed to a lot of research on multiple births. The Parents of Multiple Births Association site gives this information:


The web site gives a lot of information, but most of their statistics are for Canada.

I come from a family where there were in one generation three sets of twins (19th century or so). One non-twin sibling was father to identical twin boys, my second cousins. The previous generation sets of twins were all the same sex, and according to legend (none survived infancy) identical – but identical-ness could not at that time be confirmed.

Another family I know had identical twin girls. One of the girls gave birth to identical twin girls.