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Half-Brothers in the Womb

Article #233 • Written by Anthony Kendall

Image Credit: Dateline NBC
Image Credit: Dateline NBC

In 1993, Wilma Stuart gave birth to two baby boys. They were fraternal twins, so some dissimilarity was to be expected. However, only one of the boys seemed to take after his parents of white Dutch heritage. The other sported a much darker complexion.

Wilma's pregnancy was due to in-vitro fertilization (IVF), in which her husband's sperm was combined with her ova in a petri dish. In an unforgivable breach of proper medical procedure, however, the pipette used to transfer material had apparently been reused after a visit from a previous sperm donor. Wilma Stuart's ova were fertilized by both men, and two of the re-implanted embryos matured into healthy young boys.

Strictly speaking the boys were only half-brothers, even though they were delivered as twins. They entered the medical literature as yet another documented case of heteropaternal superfecundation, a scientific term meaning "different fathers, multiple babies." Most such cases, however, are not the result of IVF, but rather more traditional conception methods.

Though fraternal twins seem less remarkable than their identical counterparts, they are somewhat rarer. About 1 in 150 births results in identical twins, but fewer than 1 in 200 produce fraternal twins. This discrepancy arises from the biology of twinning in each case. Identical twins result from one fertilized ova splitting into two separate embryos. Fraternal twins, on the other hand, are the result of the fertilization of multiple ova. Normally only one ovum is present, but in some individuals on very rare occasions, the ovaries will release more than one. Some fertility treatments also promote the release of multiple ova.

Heteropaternal twins are, in turn, much less likely than even traditional fraternal twins. Sperm are capable of waiting in the fallopian tubes for between three and five days, while the ovum may only survive a matter of hours if fertilization does not occur. So the fertilization time window is relatively narrow, particularly if sperm from two different males must arrive. Given the single-pair reproduction strategy employed by most people, these criteria are very rarely met.

Nevertheless, there have been between seven and ten documented instances of heteropaternal superfecundation in the medical literature, many of which involve twins of different colors. The first case was documented by the American physician John Archer in 1810. His account, published most recently in the 1980 edition of the medical textbook Williams Obstetrics, still serves as the classic example. In it, a white woman had relationships with a black man and a white man separated by only a few days. Fraternal twins, one white and the other mulatto, were the result. The latest edition of Williams features a case from 1982, shown in the photograph on the left.

There is, of course, nothing limiting heteropaternity to two children. Triplets, quadruplets, or even nontuplets could all possess different fathers given enough ova and a sufficient variety of male genetic material. But considering the almost inconceivable odds against such a series of events, it is little surprise that no instances of heteropaternal triplets or higher have ever been reported.

Since the mid-1980s, documented cases of heteropaternal twins have been on the rise due in part to better testing methods. Traditional paternity testing relied primarily on blood-type comparison between the mother, child, and alleged father(s). Inconclusive results were unavoidable until modern DNA tests became available. Recent evidence suggests that as many as 2.4% of disputed paternity cases involving fraternal twins are instances of heteropaternity, thought the authors of that particular study caution that the number is likely an overestimate of the general population.

Social factors are also at play in the rising instances of reported heteropaternity. Fraternal twinning is becoming more common as the average age of childbearing rises. As women age it becomes more likely for multiple ova to be present, and many fertility drugs cause the same effect. Also, heteropaternal superfecundation often makes for a salacious story despite its unwieldy name, attracting the "Offbeat News" reporters of countless web news outfits.

Despite better testing and a deeper media penetration in society, most instances continue to go undocumented. After all, not all cases of heteropaternity are black-and-white.

Article written by Anthony Kendall, published on 13 November 2006. Anthony is a contributing editor for DamnInteresting.com.

Article design and artwork by Alan Bellows. Edited by Alan Bellows.
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60 Comments
rp2
Posted 13 November 2006 at 02:51 pm

gg


frenchsnake
Posted 13 November 2006 at 02:55 pm

Wow... that *is* an unforgivable mistake. Does make for an interesting experience, though. I wonder how those kids do as they get older?


Shandooga
Posted 13 November 2006 at 03:31 pm

Third!


cerebulon
Posted 13 November 2006 at 04:03 pm

Nice pun at the end of the article!


1c3d0g
Posted 13 November 2006 at 04:29 pm

Poor parents. I as a father would be devastated if that happened to my wife. Mistakes like that just cannot happen, because the consequences are disastrous. Ugh...I feel sick already.


Asshe
Posted 13 November 2006 at 04:35 pm

Yea, but it would be kinda cute though.

I wonder if anyone has actually tried to make this happen on purpose before?


James
Posted 13 November 2006 at 04:58 pm

What is so disastrous? Ok a mistake happened but the result is still a child and by all appearances a healthy one too. I can admit that it may be a little out of the norm but that does not make the situation is something to be devastated over.

I don’t know if anyone has done this on purpose but I know a litter if kittens will often have multiple fathers.


1c3d0g
Posted 13 November 2006 at 05:00 pm

"Kinda cute"? Are you on drugs?!? Maybe YOU would like your wife to have children with lots of different fathers, but I don't. Period.


Nikolaus
Posted 13 November 2006 at 05:12 pm

"Normally only one ova is present..."
Should read "Normally only one ovum is present...", because ova is plural for ovum.


Rev. Jack
Posted 13 November 2006 at 05:58 pm

In vitro my butt. I bet their Schwan's guy was a brother.


junebee
Posted 13 November 2006 at 06:20 pm

..."deeper media penetration in society..."! Yuck, yuck!


i_love_nukes
Posted 13 November 2006 at 06:37 pm

I wonder if the first donor knows about his son.


rhea_sun
Posted 13 November 2006 at 07:20 pm

Although it may be hard at first, should not people be happy about the gift of life?

Or are people just so concerned about the ownership of a child (being named father, whether it is deserved or not).


sulkykid
Posted 13 November 2006 at 07:51 pm

It would be pretty much the same as adopting a child, or having a sperm donor. I guess it depends on the parents. I have an adopted daughter and a natural daughter and I love them both.


Admeta
Posted 13 November 2006 at 07:51 pm

Anthony mentions the increase in heteropaternity as a result of improved testing methods, fertility drugs, and older mothers, but I would think that another social factor would be the increase in "female promiscuity." Also, the increase of mixed race children would possibly be due to growing acceptance of mixed race relationships.


another viewpoint
Posted 13 November 2006 at 08:52 pm

"In an unforgivable breach of proper medical procedure, however, the pipette used to transfer material had apparently been reused after a visit from a previous sperm donor."

...unforgiveable? How about un-f'ing-believable! Better yet...INEXCUSEABLE! With the way hospitals use up and throw out medical materials (mostly plastic), there is no excuse for such a "breach" of medical and steril procedures. I do sincerely hope the parents told the hospital that can absorb ALL the medical expenses (and then some) and leave the insurance company out of it.

"But considering the almost inconceivable odds against such a series of events, it is little surprise that no instances of heteropaternal triplets or higher have ever been reported."

...was this suppose to imply three partners for heteroparternal triplets? That's a busy woman.

So, it just goes to show you...a few moments of pleasure and bliss, may turn into 21 years of hell.


Drakvil
Posted 13 November 2006 at 08:57 pm

Nice article Anthony, DI!

nontuplets?

I think a breach of proper medical procedure like the lapse in this story would be a slam dunk for a damages lawsuit... the unlucky recipients of the "contribution" have no idea if the father was carrying any kind of disease, genetic or viral (if they are lax enough to not clean their instruments, they are probably not on-the-ball enough to do testing for STDs or other bugs on all the samples they deal with). And since the resultant "cocktail" was implanted inside the woman's body.... She had to be going out of her mind worrying if she had contracted something once she found out.

Speaking of the unknowing "contributor", I wonder if there is some sleazeball lawyer out there pitching the angle that the couple could hit HIM up for child support?

Admeta said: "... I would think that another social factor would be the increase in "female promiscuity." "

I don't really think there has been any increase in "female promiscuity". After all, every man in history who has been promiscuous had to have someone to be promiscuous with. The increased numbers you see in reports these days don't reflect any change in promiscuity, they just show a combination of other factors: 1) people are more willing to disclose information about that kind of behavior because of the much stricter enforcement of medical privacy and controlling priviledged information in the medical field as well as the survey techniques (surveys are massively more popular now than they were 50 years ago, much less 100, and they guarantee not to identify the people that take the surveys), 2) with today's surveilance methods/technology and electronic record keeping of things (such as phone records, credit card bills and ATM withdrawals) it's a lot easier for people engaging in that behavior to get caught, and 3) With divorce on the rise and no stigma placed on either party (never should have been, but it's not a perfect world) in recent decades, people are more willing to talk about things like that they have done. In the 18th and 19th centuries, you could get ruined and run out of town if not killed if anyone found out.


paalexan
Posted 13 November 2006 at 09:11 pm

'Should read "Normally only one ovum is present…", because ova is plural for ovum.'

Similarly, "criteria" is the plural of "criterion", and the latter is appropriate in:
"this criteria is very rarely met."


donlaudanny
Posted 13 November 2006 at 10:46 pm

This happens all the time with many animals. In fact, it makes evolutionary sense on the female's part to mate with multiple partners if she's going to have multiple children. No matter how good a partner's genes may seem, only having children with him is putting all the eggs in one basket. Thus, in order to increase the genetic diversity of offspring, females usually become more fertile while mating with several partners. This applies to humans as well - studies have found that women, when ovulating, are more likely to arrange meetings with their extramarital lover during an affair.

On another note, it's really gotta suck to be the dark kid. The father obviously had an interest in having his own genetic child since they went ot a fertility clinic. Now the dark kid is going to be 2nd tier to his brother for his entire upbringing, creating a massive inferiority complex and a screwed up psyche.


Prince
Posted 14 November 2006 at 12:12 am

"Given the single-pair reproduction strategy employed by most people, this criteria is very rarely met."

Lol


MikeyToo
Posted 14 November 2006 at 04:54 am

Why is it that when I read this article the name "Jerry Springer" popped into my head?


HarleyHetz
Posted 14 November 2006 at 05:41 am

1c3d0g said: ""Kinda cute"? Are you on drugs?!? Maybe YOU would like your wife to have children with lots of different fathers, but I don't. Period."

Dig that!!!
And, I'm not one to jump on the "law suit" bandwagon, but if that were "my" wife, that'd be "my" hospital!!


Brother Jebadiah
Posted 14 November 2006 at 07:04 am

HarleyHetz said: "Dig that!!!

And, I'm not one to jump on the "law suit" bandwagon, but if that were "my" wife, that'd be "my" hospital!!"

Sounds like jumping on the bandwagon to me. Why not be happy for two healthy babies? Why not let the people who made the mistake learn from it and move on? I realize that it was a huge error but I don't see how it entitles someone to "own the hospital".


irea6242
Posted 14 November 2006 at 07:06 am

Cool article!

On a related subject, if anyone is interested... identical twins with different skin colors! Good thing DNA testing exists or I'd have expected a row between the "happy parents"...

http://www.geneticsandhealth.com/2006/10/21/twins-with-different-skin-color-genes/


Zaphod2016
Posted 14 November 2006 at 07:07 am

donlaudanny said:

"Now the dark kid is going to be 2nd tier to his brother for his entire upbringing, creating a massive inferiority complex and a screwed up psyche."

Look at that boy's smile. Then imagine the dad's smile after the hospital settles his lawsuit, right before he heads over to La-Z-Boy to furninsh his new basement pad. I can see the conversation now:

Kid: "Dad, why am I so tan? Why are you so pasty?"

Dad: "That's a good question son. But before I explain, what say we go downstairs, watch the game on the big screen TV, play a few games of pool, and I'll explain how come you can afford to go to any college you want to..."

When all is said and done, I'm not so sure this is a bad thing. If I were that dad, I think I could make it work.

Just sayin'


irea6242
Posted 14 November 2006 at 07:09 am

Whoops my bad =/ twins in the article I quoted aren't identical but the two eggs came from the same mother, no difference in father either. The eggs just carried different skin-color genes.


Anthony Kendall
Posted 14 November 2006 at 08:16 am

FYI,
The link to the MSNBC article at the bottom of the page gives an update on the boys through last year (1 2 years old). It's a good article, definitely worth a read!


strwbldr
Posted 14 November 2006 at 08:25 am

I notice the responses regarding how some fathers feel if one of the children weren't theirs, and how they would sue if it was their wife... How do you think a mother would feel, knowing this is her child, and the father only see's it as a meal ticket. Children are innocent, but they seem to suffer the most in incidents like this.


jreiter
Posted 14 November 2006 at 08:30 am

I don't think I would be upset because the children were different races. I would simply be upset at casual way that the fertility clinic is treating it's patients. I would be happy for two happy babies but angry that I paid big money for AI and got someone elses genes. As a woman, if I wanted a baby of a different genetic makeup then me and my husband I could go to a local singles bar and spend $20 on drinks instead of $8000 on Fertility treatments!


blingblang
Posted 14 November 2006 at 10:41 am

WRONG, WRONG, WRONG!!

That would be horrible....wow.


Xoebe
Posted 14 November 2006 at 11:22 am

Well, as clear as the hospital's negligence is, I can't see how there is a clear cut case for damages.

The fact of the matter is, IVF relatively often produces multiple babies, as the mothers are on fertility drugs, and multiple eggs, usually four, sometimes more.

IMO, there is no case for damages, if the parents were warned about the possibility of multiple birth to begin with. What damages are incurred that would not have occurred? The parents left the hospital with two healthy babies, which is what they contracted for.

Think about it this way: If the hospital is liable for damages for born children, shouldn't the hospital be liable for the damages to the *unborn* children? Is it *murder* that the other eggs weren't born? Many doctors have lost malpractice cases that on less.

Now, honestly, the hospital or whomever were clearly negligent, and this is a surprise - and if you are a racist, prejudiced, selfish jerk, there is the possibility of a "mental and emotional anguish" case. But - if you do choose to claim "anguish", shouldn't you then have to give up the child? Wouldn't keeping the child be like claiming the car dealer sold you a shoddy car, but then keeping the car - and the money made from the claim?

I would personally find it painful to be constantly reminded that I was raising "someone else's" child, but sometimes life just deals you pain. And, the child *is* the wife's child, despite who the father is, so the child belongs with it's mother.

Sometimes accepting responsibility as an adult means bearing the burdens of other people's mistakes. It is an indication of the selfish and decadent state of our society that so many people would seek legal compensation when they were presented with a healthy, happy, surprise. Of course, selfishness, pettiness, and greed have always been part of the human condition.

After some reflection, I suppose you could make the claim that the hospital's negligence prevented the correct sperm from fertilizing an egg that is known viable; that you contracted with the hospital to fertilize sperm A with eggs B, not sperm C, thus making the hospital in breach of contract (if not outright medical malpractice). However, I still fail to see the actual damage.

Be interesting to see how this played out in court. I bet a jury would award more damages than a judge, since the jury would play on the emotional aspect of it more.


Matt Apple
Posted 14 November 2006 at 11:40 am

Nevertheless, there have been between seven and ten documented instances of heteropaternal superfecundation in the medical literature, many of which involve twins of different colors.

I'll bet it happens much more often than we realize. But if both fathers are of the same race it would more than likely go unrecognized.

I could see raising someone elses child after much soul searching but having another man's child foisted upon you... that would be hard. Of course the child is innocent but it would be a constant battle to make sure you weren't subconciously favoring one child over the other.


Drakvil
Posted 14 November 2006 at 12:15 pm

Xoebe said: "Well, as clear as the hospital's negligence is, I can't see how there is a clear cut case for damages.

The clear cut case for damages is that the clinic failed to live up to a medically acceptable "standard of care". Many lawsuits involving medical care, from C.P.R. on the street by bystanders or Firemen all the way up through hospital care, are hinged on that phrase.

The fact of the matter is, IVF relatively often produces multiple babies, as the mothers are on fertility drugs, and multiple eggs, usually four, sometimes more.

IMO, there is no case for damages, if the parents were warned about the possibility of multiple birth to begin with. What damages are incurred that would not have occurred? The parents left the hospital with two healthy babies, which is what they contracted for.

They had no problem with two babies - their problem is that they wanted babies made up from the two of them, not the mother and some random stranger. If the parentage of the child was inconsequential to them, they would have saved a lot of money just by adopting. Another problem is that by having bodily fluids put into the mother from some other person they cannot be sure she and the child have not now contracted some serious disease.

Now, honestly, the hospital or whomever were clearly negligent, and this is a surprise - and if you are a racist, prejudiced, selfish jerk, there is the possibility of a "mental and emotional anguish" case.

Not settling for an unacceptable standard of medical care, which you are paying for out of your pocket, makes you a racist, prejudiced, selfish jerk?


Sometimes accepting responsibility as an adult means bearing the burdens of other people's mistakes. It is an indication of the selfish and decadent state of our society that so many people would seek legal compensation when they were presented with a healthy, happy, surprise. Of course, selfishness, pettiness, and greed have always been part of the human condition.

The second child wasn't what they were upset about. If you were a vegetarian and you found hamburger in your cheesecake because the chef didn't bother cleaning off the fork he used, would you at the very least be asking the manager to take the cost of the dessert off your bill, if not the entire meal? And if there "possibly" could have been peanuts (which in this illustration you are deathly allergic to) included in the cheesecake as well?
After some reflection, I suppose you could make the claim that the hospital's negligence prevented the correct sperm from fertilizing an egg that is known viable; that you contracted with the hospital to fertilize sperm A with eggs B, not sperm C, thus making the hospital in breach of contract (if not outright medical malpractice). However, I still fail to see the actual damage.

Be interesting to see how this played out in court. I bet a jury would award more damages than a judge, since the jury would play on the emotional aspect of it more."


Dave Group
Posted 14 November 2006 at 01:22 pm

Terrific article. BTW, what were the social consequences regarding the woman in the 1810 case?


Drakvil
Posted 14 November 2006 at 01:59 pm

oops, I forgot to remove the last two paragraph's of Xoebe's message from my reply... If you disregard that, my message makes more sense.

I see the clinic's actions as being very similar to getting an immunization with a needle they just pulled out of someone else's arm.


Anthony Kendall
Posted 14 November 2006 at 02:39 pm

Dave Group said: "Terrific article. BTW, what were the social consequences regarding the woman in the 1810 case?"

Dave,
I wish I knew as well! I wasn't able to track down more than the tiny reference to the Williams Obstetrics 1980 edition in the Straight Dope.com article. If I picked up the reference from my University's library, that might provide more information, but it seemed small reward for the work.

One can only imagine that the social penalty then would be far worse than it is now. If you read through the MSNBC article about the Stuart twins you can see the negative consequences even in "this day and age".


Xoebe
Posted 14 November 2006 at 03:58 pm

No, I am aware of the standard of care. But, if there's no damages, there's no damages, regardless of whether the standard of care was met or not.

Look at it this way. Suppose you had the two babies. One, a moderately healthy, adequate, normal enough child who is indeed your very own... The other, a superbaby, amazing prodigy child with stunning athletic abilities who scores 1600 on the SAT and - as quarterback (on full scholarship) of the Harvard football team takes them to the National Championship.

Do you have to pay the hospital the money your "son" saved you on Harvard tuition? How about his NFL signing bonus? You keep - or do they?

My point isn't about responsibility - it's clearly the hospital's fault. It's about consequences. What - exactly - is bad about the results of the mistake other than the fact that it's unexpected?

If the standard of care is breached, and there are "positive" consequences, do you have to pay instead of collect?

Suppose the hospital left a clamp inside you after an operation, and somehow the clamp turned out to be instrumental in preventing an untimely death on your part. Would you still sue them? Do they get to give you your money and get their clamp back, ending your life in the process?

I made the comment about race, because I strongly suspect that race is a prime factor in many people's revulsion to this situation. Even to those whom race isn't an issue would still have to face the constant reminder about it.


I see the clinic's actions as being very similar to getting an immunization with a needle they just pulled out of someone else's arm.

Exactly. I agree 100% And if you got Hep C or HIV, then the hospital should pay, pay, pay. But - if you somehow don't suffer any ill effects whatsoever from this action...where are the damages?

Just because a mistake is made does not mean one is entitled to a remedy.


another viewpoint
Posted 14 November 2006 at 05:44 pm

...reminds me about a story a social worker told me about almost 30 years ago...

Two couples were out on a date in South Chicago one evening. One couple in the front seat, the other in the back seat. Between the two couples, there was only one (1) "love glove". Do you see where this is going yet?

Well, when the couple in the front of the vehicle was done satisfying their urges, the condom was turned inside out and passed back to the rear seat occupants so they could satisfy their urges. You guessed it...the female in the back seat was impregnated by the sperm from the male in the front seat...without any physical contact. The repercussions? The story never went any farther than that (sorry).

No hospital mistake there...plain, simple, ordinary lack of common sense. Do you think any of the four persons involved ever figured out what happened? I doubt it.


trillian
Posted 14 November 2006 at 08:20 pm

I was just catching up on this season of Grey's Anatomy last night, and saw the one where the girl has two uteruses ("...uteruses. Uteri?" "Uteruses.") and is pregnant in each. Naturally the babies turn out to be by different fathers, because we are talking about Grey's Anatomy.

Baader Baader Meinhoff Meinhoff....this site is starting to wiggggg me out. DI!


trillian
Posted 14 November 2006 at 08:43 pm

another viewpoint said: "…Well, when the couple in the front of the vehicle was done satisfying their urges, the condom was turned inside out and passed back to the rear seat occupants so they could satisfy their urges."

Ew. Ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew. Oh my god ew.


just_dave
Posted 14 November 2006 at 09:34 pm

Reminds me of an article recently on Human Marvels about a woman who found she wasn't the genetic mother of the children she had birthed; turned out that she was a chimera, different parts of her body containing two distinct sets of DNA. It was discovered when she was trying to prove the paternity of the kids. When her DNA was compared against the kids', it was found that she wasn't the mother. Further testing found that the DNA present in her uterus was that of a "twin" that had somehow merged with her in utero. Weird, weird stuff.

BTW: I checked the Human Marvels website, and can't find the mentioned article. The site had been vandalized recently, and much of the content that was there is totally gone (no backups?) Too bad; there were some great articles.


Illustrator
Posted 14 November 2006 at 09:47 pm

EGad! Next article please.


Miss Cellania
Posted 15 November 2006 at 08:47 am

I saw a TV show about the Stewart family, and they did identify the other father through the fertility clinic, and have made arrangements for him to be a part of the child's life. That was some years ago, so I don't know how that has worked out.

There have been a couple of stories on the net just recently about a very different process which produced twins that APPEAR to be of different races. Both parents are biracial, and the fraternal twins received very different genes from the same mother and father.


HarleyHetz
Posted 15 November 2006 at 12:12 pm

Brother Jebadiah said: "Sounds like jumping on the bandwagon to me. Why not be happy for two healthy babies? Why not let the people who made the mistake learn from it and move on? I realize that it was a huge error but I don't see how it entitles someone to "own the hospital"."

Well then allow me to explain it to you...if I pay you to change the spark plugs in my car, that is what you are supposed to do. I don't really care what kind of tools you use, or how clean you keep them, as long as you get my spark plugs changed, and the car runs when you are done. If I get my car back, and one of the spark plugs is not working, guess who gets to fix that...that's right YOU DO!! Now, let us look at the example we were discussing before. If I pay the hospital to artifically impregnate my wife with my sperm, that is what I expect them to do. Also, since it is a medical procedure, I can expect that CLEAN tools will be used, and the utmost caution will be taken to prevent my wife from becoming infected, or harmed in any other way...now along comes you with the tool that you didn't clean from the last procedure...you insert this nasty tool into my wife, and you open yourself up for the lawsuit that I will most assuredly slap on your arse.
Let those who made the mistake learn from it...yea, I'm gonna let 'em learn alright...but I'm gonna let 'em learn in school where they are supposed to, if they can't figure out how important it is BEFOREHAND to use clean instruments, then I'm going to hit them where it hurts, and they will certainly learn from their mistakes.


Tink
Posted 16 November 2006 at 12:08 am

Matt Apple said: "I'll bet it happens much more often than we realize. But if both fathers are of the same race it would more than likely go unrecognized.

I could see raising someone elses child after much soul searching but having another man's child foisted upon you… that would be hard. Of course the child is innocent but it would be a constant battle to make sure you weren't subconciously favoring one child over the other."

B.I.O.N. This happened to my baby step?brothers. Fraternal twins, same race differant dads.
We suspect now that one belonged to my stepfather (her husband) and the other possibly by my bio-father.
The mother, upon realising her "obvious mistake" tried to blame the hospital for switching her dark haired twin with another womans "ugly red headed twin". (She had four kids total, 2 with dark auburn hair, a redhead and a blond...)
Dad refused to notice a difference however (bless him).
The hateful hag neglected and mentaly abused the "odd" one to the point of doing great psychological harm to him as well as to the whole family.
Both my brothers were beautiful people, and grew up with a sweet nature that many have found surprising concidering the up-bringing.
When the favored one died she insisted on placeing a portrait of them both at age 3 beside the casket; confirming the clue to everyone that she had always been in the twilight zone. She still refuses to acknowledge the living twin and zones out when asked about the dead one. Too sad eh?
DI! Thank you, Anthony.


Anthony Kendall
Posted 16 November 2006 at 06:09 am

Wow, Tink, thank you very much for sharing your story.

You point out one major difficulty with this entire situation; the social circumstances in which the twins are born can be greatly damaging to the totally innocent children. And, in particular, one of the children suffers more than the other almost inevitably. It seems that happened in your brothers' case as well.


Tink
Posted 17 November 2006 at 08:53 pm

Why, thank you Mr. Alan Bellows. It's an honor to be acknowledgd by Mr. DI! himself!

The boys had a running joke taken from Bill Cosby (I think). That until they were four years they thought each others first names were "God" and "Dammnit" and their last name was "Youlittlebastards". Heehe.

Twinning has always been a special subject of study for me, because of this very personal event.
One of your previous articles on developing sign language

http://www.damninteresting.com/?p=708

almost had me post about the twinspeak all four of us shared.
It was cool and the three of us who survive can still speak it for fun or in a crowd if need be. The reactions from spouses and friends not privy to the conversation is curiosity and then usualy followed by pissed off. LOL


ballaerina
Posted 18 November 2006 at 11:21 am

I worked for a malpractice lawyer for a few years. One of our biggest cases involved a family who had opted for IVF because she was a little older and was having trouble becoming pregnant. The process at this fertilization clinic was to actually fertilize several eggs, run tests on each one, and implant the healthiest.
For some reason, the clinic forgot to perform these tests and the woman was implanted with a child who had Down's Syndrome. The family opted to have the child, and loved it very much, but the costs of raising a child with those types of needs was out of their budget. So, they ended up having to sue the company.
I honestly don't understand how these types of mistakes happen.


Tink
Posted 18 November 2006 at 05:54 pm

ballaerina, that is increadably sad. However , I don't personaly think this special child was an "accident'; but a karmic bestowed upon the family. Oops, sorry, getting out of the water now. Didn't mean to piss in the pool. LOL Thanks for sharing. :)


1c3d0g
Posted 19 November 2006 at 03:57 pm

Ballaerina: exactly. That's what I'm saying, these companies need to get their damn testing right. Is that asking too much in this day and age? Gheeez...


gypse
Posted 22 November 2006 at 07:41 pm

thanks peeps i'll kick this around at work dureing lunch break and see what 39 other people say should make for a great talk ...lol.if it was me and any other way then a bad medical fk up she'd be well i think garth brooks did a song momma's in the grave yard poppa's in jail


Mez
Posted 06 December 2006 at 07:29 am

Some female animals (even though I read this recently, I can't remember which animals), rather than deciding on appearance or sound etc which male is the fittest, simply copulate with many in a short period of time, and let their sperm battle it out inside her - the fitter the animal, the stronger swimmers its sperm are.


emerald
Posted 28 December 2006 at 05:06 pm

donlaudanny said:On another note, it's really gotta suck to be the dark kid. The father obviously had an interest in having his own genetic child since they went ot a fertility clinic. Now the dark kid is going to be 2nd tier to his brother for his entire upbringing, creating a massive inferiority complex and a screwed up psyche."

While it is true the father had an interest in having his own genetic child, it seems unfair to him to assume he wouldn't be mature enough to love both children equally. While it's certainly a possibility that he would favor one, one shouldn't assume how he would behave without having met him. Also don't forget it is also possible that the mother would favor her husbands child.

In response to those who claim there is no damage I have some points to make. Most importantly if the genetic father of the child wanted to have frequent contact with his son, that adds another person into the couples (and the childrens) lives that was not initially intended/wanted. That can open up a whole host of complications to the families lives. I can't see any reason that the agreement would not have been "We'll pay you to impregnate my wife with our child." The bottom line is the clinic was negligent and unsafe. Learning about the poor precedures used in the lab would make me feel scared and insecure.

For example (now I admit, I have little experience in legal matters, so I'm unsure as to whether this would be a proper case for a lawsuit or not. It seemed acceptable to me, and TV would lead us to believe that with a good enough lawyer...) you are driving your car and a malfunction in the vehicle caused it to go careening off the road, down a steep embankment, and come to a skidding halt at the bottom of a deep ditch. Both you and the car are unharmed, but I imagine you feel insecure with the car and the company at this point. Clearly this case differs in many fundamental ways, and it's a given that the company would refund the money paid for the vehicle (or perhaps repair it). Could you also sue for the frightening experience you were put through?

Just some thoughts I had. :)


Blase Splee
Posted 02 July 2007 at 03:24 pm

Drakvil said: "The clear cut case for damages is that the clinic failed to live up to a medically acceptable "standard of care". Many lawsuits involving medical care, from C.P.R. on the street by bystanders or Firemen all the way up through hospital care, are hinged on that phrase.

They had no problem with two babies - their problem is that they wanted babies made up from the two of them, not the mother and some random stranger. If the parentage of the child was inconsequential to them, they would have saved a lot of money just by adopting. Another problem is that by having bodily fluids put into the mother from some other person they cannot be sure she and the child have not now contracted some serious disease.

Not settling for an unacceptable standard of medical care, which you are paying for out of your pocket, makes you a racist, prejudiced, selfish jerk?

The second child wasn't what they were upset about. If you were a vegetarian and you found hamburger in your cheesecake because the chef didn't bother cleaning off the fork he used, would you at the very least be asking the manager to take the cost of the dessert off your bill, if not the entire meal? And if there "possibly" could have been peanuts (which in this illustration you are deathly allergic to) included in the cheesecake as well?
After some reflection, I suppose you could make the claim that the hospital's negligence prevented the correct sperm from fertilizing an egg that is known viable; that you contracted with the hospital to fertilize sperm A with eggs B, not sperm C, thus making the hospital in breach of contract (if not outright medical malpractice). However, I still fail to see the actual damage.

Be interesting to see how this played out in court. I bet a jury would award more damages than a judge, since the jury would play on the emotional aspect of it more.""

This was the best metaphor I think i've ever read.


stawn
Posted 29 December 2007 at 09:33 am

For those of you who think this is a beautiful thing, I am very concerned. If this happened to me I would be devastated. Not to mention a huge lawsuit with the clinic involved. Unacceptable!


c1nd3r
Posted 23 March 2008 at 03:14 pm

This is stupid. I would sue the hospital for millions. And put up the black kid for adoption. Ain't mine, why would I want him?


MrsBadKrumble
Posted 06 April 2008 at 02:38 pm

I'd like to see what your wife would have to say about that, given that fact that the child is genetically hers and that she bore him for nine months.

I definately think there's a lawsuit here, though. The results of this mix up could have been far more disasterous than two healthy, if multi-colored, baby boys.

However, whatever the outcome, if the father should choose to reject the "other" twin, he is a dickless ass. The child didn't ask to be born, the mother wasn't unfaithful, and to punish the innocent baby would be about as scummy as you can get.


lizdini
Posted 21 December 2008 at 10:20 am

HarleyHetz said: "Dig that!!!
And, I'm not one to jump on the "law suit" bandwagon, but if that were "my" wife, that'd be "my" hospital!!"

You know, I could understand being a little upset, but you all are acting like you own your wives and children. Shouldn't you love your kids no matter what? Isn't a family more then just genatic code?


Quest for Daddy
Posted 13 May 2009 at 08:02 am

lizdini said: "You know, I could understand being a little upset, but you all are acting like you own your wives and children. Shouldn't you love your kids no matter what? Isn't a family more then just genatic code?"

Liz, you are correct as far as family being more then genetic code, but you must look at what makes a family, HONESTY. In this case the clinic screwed up, but in many other cases it is fact that the mother slept with 2 men to get this result, accidentally (not that the act was an accident but the result). Having a child that is not 100% yours is a complicated situation and its only fair to that child that its biological parents are in its life. They just reported a case of this here in Dallas where I live. Dont you think that child is going to have questions when it grows up? Of course. And dont you think that its only right it know the truth? Yes. And when you hold a genetic code that is different from the one that is raising you, you should have the right to know who that is, where it came from. Not live a questionable life of not knowing.

I am 31 years old and believe to be a heteropaternal superfecundation. I feel like I have been lied to and betrayed my whole life and dont not have one ounce of trust for my mother. My twin and I are nothing a like, looks or personality. Mom refuses to give us any info on who our dad is, however, my older sister was old enough to see what was going on before I was born. Whats this? OH mom was seeing 2 men and I look like one and my twin looks like the other. Mom wont admit anything about this but does acknowledge the two mens names. I've heard lie after lie and hold a large amount of resentment for my mother. I dont care if she was whoring around, I would like to know who my father is and where I come from. Growing up without a parent or any knowledge of that parent leaves a ton of blank spots and emptyness.
Due to financial reasons I have not done dna testing to see if we are half or full sisters, but want to so bad and when finances allow, I will have it done.

I hand it to the men out there who live an open minded life and raise these children that are not "genetically" theirs. I had a step dad too, he sexually molested me and mom called me a b*tch and a liar when I told her about it. Thats another subject though. PROPS to you good men out there being a great DADDY! I have a feeling that id I had a step dad that really took care of things instead of making the situation worse, I wouldnt be on this lifelong quest to find my real daddy.

Feel free to email me with questions, comments and advice haha.. brat1978@gmail.com


MacAvity
Posted 11 March 2010 at 07:57 pm

This was the case with Heracles and Iphicles, and Castor and Pollux. In each case one twin was the son of a mortal man and the other was the son of Zeus by the same (mortal) woman. I had always assumed that this was only possible in myth, that it just happened because Zeus was omnipotent like that. I'm fascinated to learn that it can happen in real life.

As for my opinion on the irresponsibility of the hospital: Keep, rear, and love both children, leave money out of the issue, find out who made the mistake and make sure that person never works in a hospital again.


END OF COMMENTS
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