Being pregnant

Do twins run in the family? Yes and no.

Tenille wants to be honest about IVF, but finds that, sometimes, humour is an easier option.

By Tenille Bonoguore
Do twins run in the family? Yes and no.

Photo: starfotograf/iStockphoto

Is a white lie really a lie if there's some truth behind it?

From the start of this crazy baby-making adventure, my husband and I have been pretty open about the process that got us here: The failed attempt at a vasectomy reversal and our drug-fueled IVF treatments.

So we are faced with a small dilemma when people find out we're having twins and pose the question that everyone asks: "Do twins run in the family?"

The fact is, twins do run in my family. My mother's family, it turns out, has had twins each generation for, well, as far back as she's checked (which isn't far, given our colourful and mottled Aussie heritage).

What's a girl to do? Telling the truth — that we had two embryos implanted, so we knew twinhood was a possibility — seems a little too personal for chatting with acquaintances in the grocery aisle. And yet, if we brush people off with a "Yep, on my mother's side," it feels like we're hiding the fact we had to use IVF to get here.

My husband and I spoke about this dilemma fairly early on, and decided to be open with people whenever possible. We had a few reasons to do so.

As we figure it, being open about IVF is an act of solidarity with other couples in the same fraught boat. Spend 10 minutes in the waiting room at a fertility clinic and you'll realize people from all walks of life face fertility challenges. The more we talk about it, the better the topic will be understood. It's our personal effort to reduce some of the IVF stigma.

I also don't hold back from telling people that, due to the prohibitive cost of fertility treatment, this was the only shot at parenthood we had. So we doubled down. Consider it my one-woman campaign to convince people that covering IVF treatment through health care would likely result in fewer multiple births.


But sometimes, like those nights you get home from work and just want to throw some leftovers in the microwave and read a book, I just can't be bothered

When that happens, I resort to what I like to call the "white-lie-humour-combo." This is a handy and powerful tool, and I only bust it out when short of time or talking to a stranger/shopkeeper/receptionist, etc.

First, blind-side them with a vague bit of truth: "Well, we needed help to get here..."

Then follow it up with another vague bit of truth: "...but it turns out that, yes, twins DO run in the family!"

If the person doesn't seem quite satisfied with that, deliver the final blow: "Turns out there's twins on my mother's side, so my uterus was a veritable welcome mat."


As the person digests the triple-play, I can cheerily smile, utter a banal farewell, and be on my way. It's not the whole story, but I figure it's enough for the person who sells me stamps at the post office.

Oh, and if you're fending off the "twins in the family" question but don't have a white-lie-of-truth to fall back on, feel free to borrow mine. After all, with the fuzzy state of my family tree, we really could be related.

This article was originally published on May 08, 2013

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