File this one under F for freaking crazy! Lydia Fairchild was shocked and confused to find out she wasn’t the biological mother of her children – turns out it was caused by chimerism, the sneaky unborn twin she never knew she once shared a womb with but whose cells and eggs she absorbed. WOAH!
Paternity test shocker
American mother Lydia Fairchild was pregnant with her third child when she separated from the father of her children, Jamie Townsend. In 2002 she applied for enforcement of child support, for which DNA results were required to provide proof of paternity. In a twist of events usually only reserved for the movies, they showed he was in fact the father of his two children BUT shockingly she was not the mother.
Amid claims of surrogacy fraud, her two children were threatened to be taken away from her until the birth of her third child, which was witnessed by an observer under judge orders and required immediate blood tests after the birth. Once again though, science confirmed that she was NOT the biological mother of the children she had conceived, carried and delivered.
Can you imagine that?! Gobsmacked alright.
Thankfully, after much head scratching her legal team considered the possibility of chimerism – after learning of several other similar cases. Vanishing twin syndrome occurs in anywhere from 20-30 percent of pregnancies with multiple babies, and is when one twin dies early in the pregnancy and is absorbed by the other child, the mother or the placenta. When those cells are absorbed by the other foetus, that baby then becomes a blended version of two people – a chimera. You can begin gasping now.
After more DNA testing they discovered that Lydia’s children and her own mother had the right genetic mix typical of a grandmother and her biological grandchildren. Phew! And although Lydia’s skin and hair DNA cells didn’t match those of her children, the DNA from a cervical smear did. So Lydia did in fact have TWO sets of DNA, the defining characteristic of a chimera. In other words, she was a blend of herself and her unborn fraternal twin sister (identical twins have the same DNA so it had to have been a fraternal twin).
World’s weirdest mystery solved!
A blended family
Chimeras are not just reserved for women either. It can also happen with males as seen by the case of a Washington man, who after the birth of his son attempted to sue a fertility clinic for using the wrong semen after blood tests revealed he was only 10 percent related to his child.
Once again it turned out that he was a chimera who had absorbed some of his unborn twin brother’s cells in utero, including the germline ones responsible for developing into sperm or eggs. So this man was in a strange way both the father AND uncle of his children thanks to the blended cells. How bizarre is that?! Try explaining your family tree to myancestry.com.
Are my children mine?!
Don’t deny it, we know you’ll all be wondering now whether you’re a chimera yourself but remember these cases are extremely rare so don’t lose sleep over it. However … if you don’t share similar blood types or DNA with your children then you might (just might!) actually be a blended version of yourself and an unborn twin.
Like we said – F for freaking crazy!
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