What Are the Different Types of Twins?

The discovery that you are expecting twins is an amazing affair on its own. It doesn’t stop there. You could also go further and find out what type of twins or multiple pregnancy you are carrying. Read more on giving birth to multiples here. Types of twins are categorized as follows:

  • Identical twins
  • Fraternal twins
  • Other types of multiples

Identical Twins

Also referred to as “MoMo” or “Mono Mono”, identical twins occur when one egg is fertilized by one sperm. After fertilization occurs, this egg then splits into two. This happens during conception when your baby is just a mass of cells. Key characteristics of identical twins are:

  • Poses identical genes
  • Are always of the same sex
  • Alike in IQ
  • Alike in appearance

Identical twins may develop different personalities if they are separated at birth.

Who Gets Identical Twins?

  • It is considered pure luck when you get identical twins. They do not run in families and any expectant couple can get identical twins.
  • It may seem that some families get identical twins more than others; science considers them simply lucky.

Twin-Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTS)

Twin-Twin transfusion syndrome only happens in identical twins sharing one placenta. This causes uneven supply of blood and nutrients in the babies. The Donor twin gets dehydrated and the recipient twin in turn gets high blood pressure.

Detection of this syndrome early in the pregnancy will enable doctors to take appropriate steps that will ensure survival of both twins.

Once they are born, it is expected that they should live normally.

Fraternal Twins

Fraternal twins come about when two eggs are released and fertilized by two different sperm. Characteristics of these twins are:

  • Different in appearance
  • Can be similar or different sex
  • Poses 50% identical genes
  • Each twin has their own placenta in the womb

Who Gets Fraternal Twins?

  • This type of twins runs in families. If one of you close relatives has fraternal twins, chances of you getting them increases.
  • Older women also have a higher chance of getting fraternal twins as they may release more than one egg during ovulation.

Other Types of Twins

These include:


  • Superfetation


Though rare, a woman may release two eggs during ovulation but not at the same time. If fertilization of eggs occurs, twins will be conceived but they may be born on different days.


  • Mirror Image Twins


This happens on one egg separates very late during conception. This causes identical twins to be born with mirror images. For example a birth mark may be on the left thigh of one twin but on the right thigh of the other.

In Kenya, Twins are celebrated. In fact, Twins Association of Kenya organizes meetings and fun activities that twins enjoy. Want to learn the best way to feed twins? Click here to learn more.


Please note that development differs from one child to another. 

Content intended for educational purposes only, and should not be substituted for medical advice from your doctor.

Be careful when using any products mentioned on this website. We hold no regulations for such products or their providers.

Last reviewed March 2019 

Sources: sciencing, cincinnatichildrens, google, google

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *