In China, parents of newborn children are required to have paternity tests done as part of the process for registering the children with the government. The results of that completely normal test proved to be life-altering for the parents a set of newborn twins. Although the twins’ parents were married, the husband was only the biological father of one of the twins. The other twin, who did not look like the husband’s biological child, was completely unrelated to the husband. Unfortunately, it was later discovered that one of the twins was the biological child of a man the mother had an affair with. Although this news brought a lot of heartache for the husband and wife, it was a very important scientific discovery.
The Twins That Made Headlines
This very unusual story was first reported to Chinese news outlets by the director of the lab that performed the paternity test for the twins. Since it is shocking and has scientific significance, the story has been picked up by international news agencies. The director is only known by the media as Ms. Zhang, and the husband, who has since spoken to several reporters, is going by the fake name Xiaolong. Since the subject matter is very sensitive, efforts are being taken to protect the family’s confidentiality. Photos of Xiaolong’s children have not been published, and the babies pictured with this article are not the twins being reported on.
When the children were born, Xiaolong immediately noticed that the two babies (their genders have not been disclosed) were certainly not identical. One of the children had features very similar to his own. The other child looked nothing like Xiaolong or his wife. Fraternal twins are not identical, and all children do not look like their parents.
How Is This Possible?
Although there are plenty of wives who cheat on their husbands, it is extremely rare for an act of infidelity to result in twins who have two different fathers. For a baby to be born, a mother’s egg must be fertilized by a father’s sperm. In most instances, only one egg is fertilized at a time. When multiple eggs become fertilized at different times within the same egg cycle, it is called superfecundation. Although superfecundation is rather rare, this is one of the ways that twins are born.
In the case of Xiaolong’s wife, heteropaternal superfecundation happened, meaning that the twins were born to different fathers. Within one egg cycle, two of the wife’s eggs were fertilized, one from her “other man” and one from Xiaolong. Both eggs were fertilized in such a close time span that they grew into two healthy babies who were born at the same time. The twins are fraternal twins and half-siblings. This story is so important to the scientific community because this is the most well-documented case of heteropaternal superfecundation. In all other cases, heteropaternal superfecundation was suspected but never proven. This unusual case proves that two completely healthy babies can be born in instances of heteropaternal superfecundation. The only other well-documented cases happened involved in vitro fertilization of surrogate mothers.
Aftermath For The Family
Understandably, a very happy time in Xiaolong’s life has been marred by heartbreak. The elation of welcoming two children in the world was quickly met with the devastation of finding out that his wife had been unfaithful. While this story does represent an exciting development for science, it certainly has been a very difficult time for Xiaolong’s family.
There are conflicting reports as to what will happen to this family. Some news agencies have reported that Xiaolong refuses to care for the child that was fathered by another man. Other news outlets report that Xiaolong and his wife have reconciled their differences and will raise the children together as siblings.
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