Posted by By AGAPTUS ANAELE on
This may sound unbelievable, but it is true: That Nigerians have the highest number of multiple births worldwide.
This may sound unbelievable, but it is true: That Nigerians have the highest number of multiple births worldwide. A consultant at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja, Dr. Olatokunbo Fabanmwo, announced this, saying: "a point has to be made that South western Nigeria has one of the highest rates of multiple births in the world; it is documented by Prof. P. P.S Nailander as far back as the 1960s. It has been documented that we have one in 22, which is one of the highest in the whole world. As a matter of fact, there is a particular community in Oyo State, which is Igboora community; they have a very high incidence of multiple births."
So what could be responsible? Fabanmwo explains: "Itís been related to diet and genetics. Twining is a kind of hereditary thing. For instance, if a woman has a family history of twining, she has a high possibility of giving birth to twins. The same goes for the man. And if a man and woman both have histories of twining, then the possibility becomes higher. If you marry a wife and in your family there is a history of twining, and your wifeís family there is also a history of twining, there is a very likelihood that the pregnancies your wife will have will result in twins.
He was also quick to point out that the trend in assisted conception was also a contributory factor. He put it this way: "The issue of ovulation induction agents is also germane. Now there are quite a number of fertility centres in Lagos and South west. I am referring to centres that offer assisted conception for women. These are centres that deal with in-vitro fertilization. Ovulation induction agents usually lead to multiple pregnancies, so that may also be a contributory factor to what you have noticed.
According to him, "But I must tell you that we who are seeing the patients have not really noticed much higher incidence of multiple births. I must be honest with you, we have not looked at it. It is one of the pending things for us to research into. Ovulation induction agents are drugs used to stimulate ovulation in women who are not naturally ovulating. Such drugs are used by fertility clinics to take over the womanís circle so as to be able to time their intervention.
For instance, if a woman goes for in-vitro fertilization, the doctor has to be able to take over her menstrual cycle to be able to predict certain things like the day she is going to ovulate, that enables them to know what intervention they are going to do on that particular day. If they rely on her natural cycle, they may miss it. They have to use the ovulation induction agents to control the cyrcle to be able to say specifically which day certain events are going to happen and then intervene."
Offering an insight into the chemistry of multiple births, Fabanmwo said: "There are two ways that twins can occur. One is that two different eggs may be fertilized by different sperm cells, so that will result into two embryos being formed, but they are not likely to be identical twins, rather they are more likely to be non-identical twins. They will be like brother and sister because two different eggs were fertilized. The other way twins are formed is one egg is fertilized but in the process of division it breaks into two along the way, so this gives rise to identical twins."
Our staple food in the rural areas is mainly cassava and all the derivatives of cassava, which could be said to be responsible for the high incidence of twining in the South west.