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International News: Brazilian teenage mother gives birth to twins with different fathers

Posted: Wednesday, September 7, 2022. 11:04 am CST.

By Aaron Humes: Brazilian authorities have reported a rare case of heteropaternal superfecundation – multiple babies, in this case twins, fertilized with sperm from different fathers, the Daily Mail (UK) reports.

A 19-year-old woman from Minerios, Goias, Brazil, said she had sexual intercourse with two different men on the same day, later giving birth to twins. She thought the children shared the same father but a paternity test brought a surprise – the DNA sample provided by the prospective father came back positive for only one of the twins.

After remembering she had had intercourse with a second man on the same date, she contacted him and his sample came back positive for paternity of the second twin.

As explained by her doctor Tulio Jorge Franco to Globo Network: ‘It is possible to happen when two eggs from the same mother are fertilized by different men. The babies share the mother’s genetic material, but they grow in different placentas.’ He emphasized that the case is extremely rare, and a ‘one in a million’ situation and he did not think he would see one like it in his life.

It has been claimed that there are only about 20 other cases in the world where this has happened.

Local media reported that the children are now 16 months old, but Dr Franco only spoke about the case this week.

One of the fathers is looking after both children, giving their mother support.

Cases typically only come to light when suspicious relatives request a DNA test of a newborn, but one study suggests heteropaternal superfecundation may affect as many as one in 400 twin births in the U.S.

Although heteropaternal superfecundation is rare in humans, it is relatively common in other animals, including dogs, cats, cows and rodents. In species where females have multiple partners, some males have even developed strategies to ensure their sperm reaches the egg. This may include evolving penises that damage the female’s reproductive tract, preventing subsequent mating, as seen in dragonflies.


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