What is an Identical Twin?
An identical twin is a type of twin that develops from a single fertilized egg—also known as a zygote. This egg splits into two, resulting in two genetically identical individuals with the same DNA. Identical twins are either both male or both female.
Do Identical Twins Share a Sac?
The answer is yes, identical twins do share a sac in some cases. This occurs when the single fertilized egg splits into two around three or four days after fertilization. When this happens, the two resulting twins have separate amniotic sacs and placentas, but they still grow in the same uterus. This is called “monoamniotic twinning.” Twins born in this way are also referred to as “monozygotic” twins, which means that they developed from the same egg.
Effects of Sharing a Sac
Identical twins sharing a sac can lead to certain risks for the developing babies. For one, if the amniotic sacs of the twins become fused or tangled together, it can interfere with the umbilical cord and cause potential breathing or circulation difficulties or other complications. Additionally, having two fetuses in the same amniotic sac can lead to a higher chance of preterm birth and intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR), meaning the babies are smaller than expected for their gestational age.
Chance of Monoamniotic Twins
While it’s possible for identical twins to share an amniotic sac, it’s a relatively rare occurrence. According to estimates, monoamniotic twinning happens in just 1 in 35,000 pregnancies and 10-15% of all identical twin pregnancies.
Detecting Monoamniotic Twinning During Pregnancy
If a doctor suspects that a pregnant woman may be carrying identical twins in the same sac, they can use ultrasound technology to take a closer look at the babies’ development. The procedure uses sound waves to create an image of the developing fetuses, and it can show if there are two separate amniotic sacs.
It’s also possible to detect monoamniotic twinning using a special test called a fetoscopy. This involves inserting a thin, lighted scope into the uterus to get a closer view of the fetuses and their environment.
In summary, although it’s possible for identical twins to share an amniotic sac, it’s a relatively rare occurrence. Additionally, it comes with certain risks, so it’s important to speak with a doctor if monoamniotic twinning is suspected.
Welcome to my fertility blog. This is a space where I will be sharing my experiences as I navigate through the world of fertility treatments, as well as provide information and resources about fertility and pregnancy.