Do you know you can have a twin inside you?
Twin inside you? Rubbish!! How’z it possible? Well, Imagine going for genetic tests along with your children, only to find that you can’t possibly be their biological mother – despite the fact that you gave birth to them.
Lydia Fairchild was twenty one when she had her first baby. Despite being separated from the baby’s father, Jamie Townsend, she and Jamie had a second baby a year later. Another year on and and she became pregnant for the third time after which she and Jamie split up again. With no steady work and unable to support herself and the children she applied for state benefit.
Her world was about to be turned upside down.
The State Prosecutor’s Office required DNA tests from Jamie to prove that he was the father of the children and, as a matter of course, Lydia was also tested.
Lydia’s DNA showed no match at all. The greatest shock for the prosecutors came when Lydia was tested during the very delivery process of her third child in front of witnesses and she was not a match to the baby she just delivered.
Karen Keegan a 52 year old teacher was confronted with the same startling information. According to DNA testing her children were not hers. Karen had been in urgent need of a kidney transplant and she and her family were tested to find a matching donor. Just as in Lydia’s case, there was no genetic match between Karen and her eldest two boys.
During her treatment, Karen met transfusion specialist Dr Lynne Uhl who became intrigued by her story. Dr Uhl arranged to have Karen and her boys tested again. Her youngest son wastested for the first time and he was a match! The doctors sought advice from senior colleagues and it was one of these who suggested Karen might be a chimera.
A chimera is someone who has two completely different genetic identities, two sets of DNA. It is believed that a chimera is formed when two fertilized eggs fuse together, early in their development.
By amazing chance both Lydia and Karen’s stories matched and after a lot of DNA sampling from various internal organs it was proved that these women were Chimeras, both had two sets of DNA in their bodies one dominant of the other.
In these cases, it turned out that the mother was a chimera (a mix of two individuals). She was the composite of two non-identical twins that had fused in her mother’s womb.No-one knows how common chimeras are, but with the rise of fertility treatments and genetic testing, more chimeras are likely to be created and discovered.