The factors that influence twinning rates

Acta Genet Med Gemellol (Roma). 1981;30(3):189-202. doi: 10.1017/s0001566000007650.


In a study carried out in an African population in Western Nigeria and a Caucasian population in Aberdeen, Scotland, it was found that DZ twinning rates varied with maternal age and parity, the MZ twinning rate remaining fairly constant. However, women aged 30-34 were found to have the highest rate in Western Nigeria whereas the peak in Aberdeen population occurred in the older age group, 35-39 years. Other factors that influenced DZ twinning rates were maternal height, social class and ethnicity (in the Nigerian population), and illegitimacy (in the Aberdeen population). No significant association was found between twinning and maternal blood groups or season of the year in either of the two populations. An important factor that also influenced twinning in the two populations was the maternal serum FSH level. The levels were much higher in the Nigerian population than in the Aberdeen population. Furthermore, in the Aberdeen population, twin-prone and non-twin-prone women had similar serum FSH levels, whereas the levels were much higher in twin-prone women in the Nigerian population. This finding is consistent with the fact that the Nigerian population has a much higher twinning incidence (approximately 50 per 1,000 maternities) than Aberdeen population (approximately 12 per 1,000 maternities).

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Blood Group Antigens
  • Body Height
  • Child
  • Female
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone / blood
  • Humans
  • Illegitimacy
  • Nigeria
  • Parity
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy, Multiple*
  • Scotland
  • Seasons
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Twins*
  • Twins, Dizygotic
  • Twins, Monozygotic


  • Blood Group Antigens
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone