Intrauterine androgens of a male fetus may influence the female fetus in opposite-sex twin pairs. Because female intrauterine overexposure to androgens could lead to polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), the prevalence of PCOS should be higher in women from opposite-sex twin pairs. Therefore, the aim of the current study was to evaluate the prevalence of PCOS in women from opposite-sex twin pairs compared to women from same-sex twin pairs, sisters, and female spouses of twins.Subjects and Methods:
Data from 1325 monozygotic twins, 1191 dizygotic twins (711 women from same-sex twin pairs and 480 women from opposite-sex twin pairs), 745 sisters of twins, and 218 spouses of male twins were evaluated. PCOS was defined as less than nine natural menstrual cycles a year combined with either hirsutism or acne. The prevalence of PCOS was compared using a χ2 test. Binary logistic regression analyses were conducted to test for confounding effects of smoking, age, and body mass index.Results:
No significant differences in PCOS prevalence were found between women from same-sex twin pairs (either monozygotic or dizygotic), opposite-sex twin pairs, sisters, and spouses.Conclusion:
The prevalence of PCOS is not different in women from opposite-sex and same-sex twin pairs, singleton sisters, or spouses. This indicates that possible androgen exposure of the female fetus, caused by a shared intrauterine environment with a male fetus, does not result in PCOS-like traits.