Pregnancy No Proof of Motherhood; Woman Was Her Own Twin-and the Twin Was the Mother of Her Children

Pregnancy not proof that Lydia Fairchild was the mother of her children

Pregnancy not proof that Lydia Fairchild was the mother of her children
Thanks to a rare medical condition, a Washington state woman found out that pregnancy was not enough to prove motherhood; DNA testing indicated that she was, in fact, not the mother of her own children – so who was? During the course of a desperate battle to retain custody of her three children, it was discovered that her twin was the real biological parent. The twist? She, 26-year-old Lydia Fairchild, was her own twin.

By the time Fairchild was 23 years old, she had given birth to two children and was pregnant with a third. Her relationship with the father had been rocky. They separated – not for the first time – and she found herself, at 26, a struggling, single mother; out of work and unable to support her kids. When she applied for government assistance, however, her world was shattered by an incredible revelation – one that led to criminal accusations and the impending prospect of losing her children to the state.

In order to qualify for financial assistance in supporting her young family, Fairchild was required to undergo DNA testing to prove that she was the mother of children for whom she was claiming. Jamie Townsend, the father of all three children, was also required to submit to testing. Having twice been through pregnancy and childbirth and now in the middle of a third pregnancy, this test, Fairchild assumed, was merely a formality. It turned out not to be, however; In December, 2002, Fairchild was contacted by the Washington state prosecutor’s office and told to come in to discuss the test results. To her horror, the young mother was informed that she would be the subject of an investigation into possible welfare fraud as the DNA tests had revealed no genetic link between her and the children she claimed were hers.

Lydia Fairchild
Lydia Fairchild

Townsend’s biological link to the children had been confirmed, but the test came up with no evidence that Fairchild shared any DNA with the three children. She found herself being interrogated by Social Services; who was she? Who was the real mother of the children? Jamie Townsend was also questioned and accused of fathering the children with another woman. “I knew that I carried them, and I knew that I delivered them. There was no doubt in my mind,” Fairchild later recounted. Fairchild’s obstetrician, Dr Leonard Dreisbach, was equally stunned by the accusation against the mother. “I’ve been doing this long enough to recognize when someone is giving birth right in front of you.” he said.

The desperate mother soon found herself facing a summons and impeding legal battle to prove that she was the mother of the children to whom she had given birth and even to the one she now carried.

In another part of the country, another woman was facing a similarly bizarre situation; 52-year-old Karen Keegan, from Boston, Massachusetts, had discovered that DNA testing – carried out to find a genetic match in the search for a potential kidney donor – indicated no genetic link between her and two of her own three sons. After confirming a match between Keegan and her youngest son, her doctors sought further advice and were informed that Keegan might have a very rare genetic condition know as chimerism. Derived from the name of a strange hybrid creature, the Chimera of Greek legend, this condition had been documented just 30 times throughout the world. Those rare individuals, dubbed “Chimeras”, had started out as twins; in the early stage of pregnancy, one of the twins had merged with – been absorbed by, one could almost say – the other twin.

The cells of the consumed twin, however, did not disappear and remained alive in one concentrated area of their sibling’s body. In essence, a human chimera is one person made up of two separate sets f genetic material; they are, in fact, their own twins.

Baffled doctors conducted a number of tests on Karen Keegan but drew a blank; unable to find any genetic material in her body that matched that of her sons. Eventually, Keegan mentioned to her doctors that she once had a thyroid nodule removed. Determined to solve this medical mystery, the doctors tracked down material from the removed nodule to a medical lab in Boston. DNA extracted from the nodule matched that of her children.

Lydia Fairchild and Jamie Townsend's children
Lydia Fairchild and Jamie Townsend’s three children

Chimerism, however, was completely unknown to anyone dealing with Lydia Fairchild. Now in an advanced state of pregnancy, Fairchild found herself in court and about to lose custody of her children. The presiding judge ordered that blood samples be taken from her third child the moment Fairchild gave birth. Despite a court-appointed witness to the birth, tests on the blood samples, once again, showed no genetic link between the baby and its mother.

Fate, however, was on Lydia’s side when one of the prosecutors in her case stumbled upon an article in the New England Journal of Medicine. That article had been written by Karen Keegan’s doctors and chronicled the incredible discovery they had made. Further exploration of the mystery of Fairchild’s DNA was ordered and a genetic link between her mother and her own children was confirmed. When Fairchild later had a cervical smear, DNA from it was tested and found to match that of her children. Fairchild’s lost twin, it appeared, had lived on as cells only found in her ovaries; she was her own twin – and the twin was the biological mother of her children.

Some sixteen months later, after enduring the harrowing prospect of even pregnancy being no proof of motherhood, Lydia Fairchild found the case against her dismissed. Her attorney, Alan Tindell, reflected on the dire consequences of oversight in the testing of DNA. “People go to death row because of DNA tests,” he said, “people are released from death row because of DNA tests.” As for Karen Keegan and Lydia Fairchild – two women separated by thousands of miles but linked by a rare genetic condition – their separate, but bizarre tales, may well have inspired the medical community – and the justice system – to think again about the potential shortcomings of DNA testing.


By Graham J Noble


ABC News
Yahoo Voices

113 thoughts on “Pregnancy No Proof of Motherhood; Woman Was Her Own Twin-and the Twin Was the Mother of Her Children

  1. Why is this a news story now in 2014? I saw these exact same people on a show about chimeras several years ago. This is interesting, but old, news.

  2. I believe that I have this and no one will take me seriously. I am a female with two completely different feet. One have the look of my father’s and the other of my mothers. I also have two completely different thumbs and they are actually of the opposite look of my feet. I have slight scoliosis and was born with an hemangioma on my neck. I suffered from PCOS with hormone issues as well as the rare vulvar vestibulitis of my vagina that was cured with surgery when I was 20. Other than that I am completely normal. Very high IQ, 5 foot 8″ and 135lbs. And I also was blessed with a son when they said it would be unlikely I could conceive. Does anyone have any insight on this???

    1. It’s unlikely you have chimerism, but have you asked about Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia? Hyperplasia does give vulvar vestibulitis, hormone issues, low fertility, PCOS, sufferers are generally tall and the excessive growth can lead to scoliosis,

      1. Zoe, although your comment was over a year ago….I just read this article and comments now. Just wanted to clarify something about Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia(the disease you questioned In Jillian based on her comment above). Most of the signs and symptoms you listed in your comments about CAH IS in fact true for most, however, adults are almost always short as adults as the rapid growth occurs in childhood (the child will be taller than their peers during growth),but, since their rapid growth (Bc of the excessive amounts of adrogens in their blood caused a significant advanced bone age resulting in complete fusion of the growth plates it subsequently, results in a shorter than average adult. However, Jillian stated that she was 5’8″ (taller than average) and she’s 135lbs(thin for height as well.Late Onset- CAH individuals also tend to be heavier than average(adult) as well). These 2 factors do NOT rule out the possibility of someone presenting with Late-Onset CAH during adulthood, but it does lessen the suspicion of this as a possiblity/differential. I also don’t recall if she had even mentioned having any fertility difficulties, only that she has in fact conceived (and delivered) a child naturally. If no history with infertility/PSOS the probability of CAH is unlikely.
        Lastly, she mentioned some “abnormalties” of her feet and other parts of her body as well and that most definitely does not coincide with having CAH or any other similar congenital adrenal disease, as these are NOT syndromes that cause any deformities whatsoever; CAH is an inherited genetic disease which causes impairs production of essential hormones and cortisol synthisis/production.
        If Jillian does in fact have limb deformities, as well as other abnormalties, she most likely has some chromosomal abnormalty (possibly even a syndrome of some kind). She should seek guidence from a genetic consoler if she so desires. Especially, if she still has questions or concerns, I think a genetic consult(and possibly even a full genetic work up) would be of benifit to her at that time.

  3. Chimerism has been known for decades. I guessed the condition before it was mentioned. This is evidence the courts are not there to judge scientific fact or have any ability to understand science. They only render legal judgement. Many times the media or anti-science advocates use court rulings as if it proves some scientific argument. This explains why reliance on court finding is not science. Her doctor should have known right away. She needs a new one.

  4. Can you imagine the frustration she must have felt not being believed, especially after giving birth in front of the court investigator?

  5. @Immy, unlike the case of identical twins, where 1 embryo splits into two. I believe this case starts off with two embryos. In which case, the DNA is not that similar

    1. Immy, there are two types of twins: fraternal and identical. Identical twins happen when one fertilised egg splits into two fetuses, so they have identical DNA. Fraternal twins happen when two separate eggs are fertilised: this is how brother/sister twins or non-identical twins happen.

      1. That’s true, but even fraternal twins share about half their DNA. This seems to be an error in the article — the babies should have appeared to be the nieces of their mother, which would not be “no genetic link,” but simply a weaker link that that between parent and child.

        1. but i presume that this analysis for maternity just looks at mtDNA, which is fairly conserved in general, and any small changes from a mother to child are unexpected. by looking at nuclear and mitochondrial, you can see both maternity and paternity. an odd case, for sure, but doubt DNA testing because of this one in a million or less chances? we don’t stop chemotherapy and it has a much much much higher failure rate than that.

        2. It mentioned in the article that the DNA proved she looked related. DNA is actually a lot less acurate than many people think.

  6. when a sequence of characters is more important than helping a child, there’s bigger problems in the room.

  7. not a bad article. the author needs to do some further research on human chimerism though. as an inherited trait it’s actually not all that rare; more in the unusual category than the rare category.

    as a product of modern medicine, well—how many bone marrow and organ transplants have been done in the last 50 years? every one of those transplant recipients will have a dna mismatch within their own bodies; especially the bone marrow ones.

    this article does a great job of pointing out how ignorant the courts and other governmental agencies are.

    twins, identical or fraternal, have the same mitochondrial dna. mitochondrial dna comes only from the egg, which comes from the mom, so saying there is no genetic match between mom and the kids is either an outright lie, or total ignorance, especially when the kids match the maternal grandmother.

    all three of lydia’s children would have the same mitochondrial dna as their mother, matrilineal grandmother, matrilineal great grandmother, etc… in unbroken line back to a million plus years.

    chimerism shows us that when we convict, or exhonorate, on “dna”, the dna used MUST be the same dna sample. i.e. if it is dna from blood found at a crime scene, then it is blood from the suspect that must be matched to the blood at the scene; not a cheek swab or epithelials (skin). that follows with all other dna samples as well. skin for skin, semen for semen, vaginal for vaginal, etc………

    a rose is a rose is a rose may be a true statement, but dna is dna is dna is not.

  8. This is bad reporting. The woman would have shared a genetic link to her kids, but it would be the same amount of genetic material one would expect to be shared between an aunt and her nieces/nephews.

  9. Maybe some criminals have been exonerated of crimes due to blood test results that came back negative due to chimerism. And, if chimerism happens in males too, maybe some wives have been falsely suspected of infidelity due to the results of blood tests suggesting that the male is not the father.

    1. Was thinking the same about paternity. Sure makes the Maury show look a bit suspect

  10. I’ve tried to respond to this post 3 different times and the only post that has shown up is the one that makes no sense unless you read the other one lol.

    My first 2 children’s dad was on their birth certificates and we were able to get assistance without a problem.

    My youngest child’s dad was not on the birth certificate and we all had to have DNA tests done.

    So it seems as though they only care if the father’s name is on the birth certificate. Which of course is the only thing that makes certain a child is actually yours. (end sarcasm)

  11. I actually think it’s hilarious that someone who can’t spell (or use spellcheck, as it seems) OR use proper grammar would make a comment to say that there were so many errors in the article. Even better that there weren’t any errors. Agreed that this commenter is an asshat! [email protected]

    1. Brook, I’m sorry my comments upset you as well. I will Gramman apology further down the page. I wasn’t trying to be negative or critical. I am truly regretful that my comments upset those who read them. I was only trying to add to the conversation and present a few facts. Please accept my apology. I am a very peaceful loving person. I find negativity to be a tool often used by those who do not have anything factual or the interest to the conversation. Thank you for your comments. It made me realize the impact that I had upon others.

    2. Making spelling and grammar mistakes as a commenter is a bit different than making them as an journalist.

      Author was very rude and overreacted to comments.

  12. I am a resident of Washington State. When one applies for benifits through the Departmartmwnt of Social Human Services-DSHS. The state will ask for proff of paternity/maturity. A birth certificate with both parents list proff. But, in cases where the father is missing from the child birth certificate, a DNA test is ordered. The state does not want to carry the burden of supporting the children all on its own. If the parent does not want the DNA tested conduct that they are allowed to refuse the test to be administered. Often times it’s because if the other parent is contacting may put the mother’s life and the children’s life in danger. There are also other reasons for this. The lady in this article obviously was not receiving any sort of support from her children’s father. It also leads to the realization that the father’s name was not on the children’s birth certificate because if it were done a DNA test would not have been ordered. I find this article to be extremely questionable. Clearly it lacked editing as there were a few spelling errors. It did lead to an interesting conversation and probably a little bit more knowledge about the female reproductive system.

    1. “quite a few spelling errors? Really? Which words are spelled incorrectly? Please list them, since you are so smart.” I’ll give you the rest of the day to list all the spelling errors, or I shall delete this asinine and idiotic comment.

      Also; the article is “highly questionable” why? Are you suggesting I made it all up? Also, then, you are suggesting that the source articles from which I resourced this piece also made it up.

      Is it all part of some vast,Illuminati conspiracy, perhaps?

      Do you have nothing better to do with your time than to post comments on the internet which contain false accusations, just so that it makes you feel better about yourself to criticize others?

      You are a very sad, and very stupid, individual.

      1. One spelling error that jumped out at me was “two separate sets f genetic material” presumably supposed to be “two separate sets OF genetic material.”

        As an aside, you’re probably going to want to grow a thicker skin if you’re going to post articles on the internet, especially if you’re going to read the comments.

      2. Misstating the source article information is at least somewhat questionable.

        “DNA tests had revealed no genetic link between her and the children she claimed were hers” in this article


        “the DNA tests had come back looking like Fairchild may have been the aunt of her two children” in the abc article.

        Also, ad hominem parting shot leaves a dent in your credibility

        1. Umm, he didn’t quote the source, he paraphrased it. This is perfectly acceptable in writing an article or school paper without being considered either plagiarism or a misquote.

      3. Graham, I am truly sorry that I offended you. Clearly that was not my intention. You wrote an article that many people read and respond to. You helped create a form where people are sharing ideas and learning new knowledge. You’re correct, I have never been published. It has been a dream of mine to craft a masterpiece in the area of my profession.
        It was not my intent to respond in a critical fashion. I responded because I related to your article. My son’s father and I were never married nor did I acknowledge him as the father on my child’s birth certificate; for personal reasons. My child’s father and I reunited and planned to amend the birth certificate. Unfortunately shortly after that my son’s father passed away; suddenly.
        Needless to say it was an agonizing trauma for my child and I. Since his father was not on the birth certificate my two-year-old son was unable to receive survivors benefits. I sought a lawyer but, she couldn’t help. She did contact me a couple weeks later with information from the district attorney. I was advised to seek child support from a man who was deceased. Initially his death was investigated as a possible homicide. He and I were driving home from a vacation at the coast when he collapsed in the car. I was driving the vehicle and pulled over to call EMS which meant Half of the police department showed up as well. Because of the nature of the investigation, there was a DNA signature on file with the police department. I understand the humiliating process of dealing with social services. I also understand what it feels like to be treated as if you are merely looking for a handout, asking the state to provide for your child because you cannot, and dealing with The dehumanizing experience that is a Social Security interview to prove that you are in fact who you say you are and seeking what is rightfully your child’s.
        In my original post there were quite a few grammatical errors and a bit of awkward sentence structure. I am very sorry if I came off as negative, because that is not who I am at all.
        I found a few of the comments to be very ugly as they contained stereotypes pertaining to single mothers and how they felt entitled. I am a single mother. I never asked for this life. I do very well; I am a professional, but I have a lot of sympathy and understanding for those who struggle.
        I wish you the best in your future and all your endeavors.
        Kip Marie Brierley

  13. I found the article very interesting. Some of the comments on people living of the state were very judgemental. We don’t live in China or India where we are policed or kill our unwanted children. Unfortunate events happen to good people sometimes and don’t deserve to be judge and looked down upon. That’s what the system is for.. Remember when you POINT a finger at someone three more are pointing back at you..

  14. Since when is DNA testing required to receive welfare?? Its a very expensive test, so that alone makes the story suspect. I don’t know of anyone who has actually been DNA tested in relation to welfare except in establishing paternity. The condition is real enough, but I call bullshit on the story itself.

    1. To receive a welfare check, you have to get a dna test if you are not married. That way they can determine the father and have child support ordered through the court. If the father pays support the state doesn’t have to give as much welfare because there will be some income. So yes they do dna testing no matter how expensive it is.

  15. Hmmm I can think of another mother that this might apply to, what if the fraternal twin was a male? And the mother had a virgin birth to this day defies rational explanation. I think they wrote a book about him, or half a book. Could this explain the virgin Mary?

    1. No, it really cant explain Mary…that isn’t how babies are made. If a man kisses a woman DNA is transferred, but she won’t become pregnant without sperm fertilizing an egg. You suggest the holy mother of God was a mutant hermaphrodite with functioning testicles and Christ the product of incest.

  16. So what would happen to Maury?!

    …for all the times he said “You are NOT the father”. Or something. Haha.

  17. Why did Washington State refuse to accept the validity of the birth certificates? Were the children born in a different state?
    When did Washington State begin requiring DNA proof of parenthood before granting of benefits? I am acquainted with literally dozens of welfare moms, none of whom ever had to submit to DNA testing for their benefits!

    1. She had to get a DNA test, because it was court ordered for the custody hearing. She was on benefits at the time, and would have them revoked because the DNA said she wasn’t the mother of her children.

    1. What the heck are you talking about? Aside from the obtuse correlation you are trying to make between genetics and slavery, Jews did not own slave ships. The first slavers were Dutch!

  18. This is a very educational and interesting article.
    The question that pops into mind is: Could some of these DNA a-normalities be responsible for the numerous adverse events reported as “serious cases” after immunizations?

  19. It seems DNA evidence must be reconsidered.. if you can give birth to MURDER!!! Bwahahahahahaha

  20. Wow, didn’t take the grammar and spelllllllllllllling police long to arrive. Thanks guys, makes the content of the article so much more questionable.

  21. I had two dermoid cysts which had nothing to do with a genetic twin, one was huge – the size of an orange, the other was the size of a small plum – both on the right ovary. I also had endometrial tissue throughout the abdomen and a small tumor on my left ovary which was found only because the surgeon needed to remove as much of the abdominal endometrial tissue as possible – and that was fortunate for me because that little blip on my left ovary contained pallisade cells, a precursor to cancer.
    As to the difference in DNA – if they were fraternal twins, developing from two separate eggs, there could be a significant difference in the DNA as they share only HALF, the difference is much less in identical twins, sometimes so subtle as to be indistinguishable but now, with more sophisticated testing, differences can be found because there are mutations after the zygote splits, early in fetal development.
    My experience happened 45 years ago, when I was 29. I had a total radical hysterectomy with Bilateral Salpingo-Oophorectomy to remove any possibility of ovarian, cervical or uterine cancer. I was very, very lucky to have it found so early because in the late ’60s, ovarian cancer was a death sentence.

  22. An interesting article indeed but I, however, find it more disturbing that we have one more unmarried young mother clogging up our welfare system. Please stop having babies out of wedlock! The children don’t deserve this nor does our society.

    1. Samantha, your comment, “I, however, find it more disturbing that we have one more unmarried young mother clogging up our welfare system. Please stop having babies out of wedlock!” is inappropriate. Who, in your opinion, is welfare best aimed at? Also, the article states: “Her relationship with the father had been rocky. They separated – not for the first time – and she found herself, at 26, a struggling, single mother; out of work and unable to support her kids.” Does the father bear no responsibility for the children? Should he not be chastised for breeding children out of “wedlock”? Should the courts (and you) not be demanding this dead-beat dad face up to what he has done and provide for the children rather than expecting someone (anyone) else, to support the results of his sexual lack of discrimination?

      1. Thank you Judy. You said everything that I was hollering at the screen until I scrolled down and saw your comment. Bless you.

      2. My ex husband was telling people and myself that since my new husband has a good job that he shouldn’t have to pay child support and also I recieve child support from one of my other childeren and that tard told me that since I get support for my daughter that he shouldn’t have to pay anything on our two sons. Some men are complete idiots. That’s where I agree about other men wanting other men or the state to support their kids. If you can’t support your kids or want kids keep it in your pants or keep your legs closed.

        1. He shouldn’t have to pay if your new husband has a great paying job. I got my support adjusted from $900/month for my daughter down to $125 after my daughter’s mom got married.. Her husband only makes about 60k per year.. That’s why you have to be careful when marrying a woman with children, you are then responsible for a portion of her kids’ support..

        2. The State of Washington changed my child support for my daughter from $900/month to $125/month after my daughter’s mom got married.. Her husband makes 60k a year, and the state says he has responsibility to help pay for my daughter.. I didn’t even want the State to do it, but they did on their own.. That’s why my attorney always told me to be careful dating women with kids, because the State will hold you responsible for her kids in some fashion if you get married..

      3. Judy, keep blaming one parent or the other and I think you may be missing the point.
        We as a society have an obligation, even promises, to the PEOPLE who are currently children. When lacking support, it is not the ‘single mother’ who is to blame, nor is it the ‘deadbeat dad’. It is us. You and I and everyone else in society who has failed of their promise to people who are currently labelled as children, and treated as the property of the people identified as ‘parents’.

  23. So, I am the only one who knew that she was going to be a chimera after reading the introduction? I am sorry Andrew, if my Grammar isn’t correct. I did not graduate high school. Amazing, all of these professional people, doctors involved and no one even thought that she could be a Chimera. Boggles the mind.

  24. It pays to watch TV crime dramas. This medical condition was used in either CSI or L&A episode several years ago. The person with the condition was a rapist. He was released because his DNA, taken from his mouth, didn’t match the sperm DNA on the victim. If I remember correctly, they had to catch him red handed to prove he was the criminal.

    1. Pretty sure I saw something about it, years ago on TLC and probably the same crime show you saw it on. Who said television doesn’t teach you anything? I think they were wrong.

    2. Interesting comment, but one would think that actually carrying a child would be “red handed” enough?

  25. I found this article to be very interesting. The title alone grabbed me. It’s interesting that people are so quick to respond not knowing all the facts. Must are going off of knowledge that was obtained many moonminis ago. It had now been proven that not all twins have the same father. Science is a steadily evolving area. This was a very good article and it was very easy to follow the story.

  26. The article said no there was no dna match. How is that possible? The Mitochondrial dna would have been identical between the two twins and since both were female twins there would certainly be shared dna from the father’s X chromosome since there was only one possible chromosome from which to inherit dna. The more accurate statement would be that none of the dna tested for was found to be shared, to state that none was shared is impossible.

    1. Because twins can be fraternal (as closely related as non twin siblings) as well as identical, and chimeras can occur from both types of pregnancies.

        1. Actually, do fraternal twins or siblings share 50% of their DNA? In some cases aren’t they the result of two sperm fertilizing two different eggs. They could have as little genetic match as any two siblings and because sperm are not identical and eggs are not identical, it could be highly unpredictable how similar two siblings are.

          Beyond that, a point to consider is genetic mutation since it was recently found that identical twins don’t have identical DNA due to hundreds of genetic mutations triggered environmentally and beginning in the womb. I wouldn’t rule out the (rare) possibility of a single person having more than one DNA due to some kind of entirely benign cancer-like mutation. It’s not the sort of thing we would ordinarily track for if its benign but is the sort of thing cheap and common genetic testing may start to uncover.

          1. Even in the case of fraternal twins with two different fathers, the twins would share approximately one-quarter of their genes. Klaude is right, there HAD to have been some genetic match indicating that this woman was related to the children genetically, unless there was something else very unusual going on as well. I found the article (and the court) irritating for that reason. Surely anyone with half a brain would have figured out that the DNA evidence was incomplete at best when faced with a pregnant woman.

          2. I think in addition to sharing 1/4 or 1/2 their DNA. The other 3/4 or 1/2 would be 99% the same even if one of them were a chimpanzee (no bad intent, just illustrating a point). There are only a few markers which would be checked and even if the were 3rd cousins these would indicate a family relationship. The test certainly indicated a strong family tie even if they didn’t meet the expectations of a mother-child relationship. Lucky she had one in the oven otherwise she may have lost her children. Isn’t science interesting when castling events take place.

  27. I am wondering the same thing Rhiannon. Does seem there would be SOME matching characteristics. Interesting story in any case.

  28. And to think DNA was foolproof enough to be admitted in a Court of Law to determine justice. Damocles Sword indeed!!!

  29. Chimera is not a genetic disease. It is a pregnancy incident
    The article is misleading as should be corrected.

    1. I did not once, anywhere in this article, describe it as a disease.

      Your comment is misleading and should be corrected.

  30. Wow! Now after reading Lee’s comment about the cyst with hair and teeth, I wonder if I have a twin or an unborn child. I had a cyst with hair and teeth; the doctor called it a dermoid. I had it and one ovary removed. Wonder if it would’ve been a baby? This was fascinating, and I usually catch bad grammmar so the article truly caught my attention.

    1. if you are going to criticise the grammar , it would be wise to spell correctly πŸ™‚

      “This was fascinating, and I usually catch bad grammmar so the article truly caught my attention”

  31. So how would the state prove that a woman is the mother of the child if she uses a donor egg? I mean, she could still have swapped babies or something. If the actual testimony of her actual physician that he witnessed the actual birth isn’t enough…

  32. I’m glad this is an extremely rare situation! Imagine if lots of people had to go through what this poor woman suffered. Or imagine killers released due to lack of DNA evidence. Scary!

  33. My wife is one of these individuals: she had an ovarian cyst removed at age 18. The cyst had hair and teeth and was apparently her own twin that she had absorbed early in the pregnancy. Never been tested so who knows if she is really the mother of her children!

    1. My cyst had hair, teeth, and a personality disorder… As a matter of fact, we called him Bob! he was the nicest cyst in the world!! Rest in peace, Bob!! We’l miss you!!!

  34. I believe my husband’s grand aunt was a chimera. I wonder if she is amongst the documented cases?

  35. Regarding “shared DNA”: Dana is correct and I would like to add that the court admissible test is a test of up to two dozen markers. Even tests between full siblings would often come up “inconclusive”. Modern DNA testing uses 700,000+ markers and can definitively tell the difference between parent/child, full siblings, and many other very close family members. Out past 2nd cousin is where the variation is.

  36. To answer the question of “some shared DNA”, when it comes to the welfare system and having to prove you are the mother of your children, you have to prove that you are the *mother* of your children. If you’re the aunt, that’s not good enough; you have to actually have custody of the kids before you can claim welfare for them. So it wouldn’t matter if there were some similarities. That’s not good enough for the welfare system.

    Just think: this probably happens a lot with identical twins. Obviously this woman absorbed a fraternal twin; had it been an identical twin, the DNA would have been the same and it never would have been an issue.

  37. I am curious though…twins share common genetic characteristics, often identical. Which begs the question. Why would her children have NO genetic characteristics in common with her, but did share some with her “twin”? Even if she wasn’t their biological mother as the article states, she would be their aunt and should have some similar DNA. Right?

  38. I take it back. The author clearly has a lot of talent. I just don’t like the excessive and often incorrect use of semicolons. Semicolons should only connect independent clauses.

  39. There are so many problems with the writing in this article. Grammar mistakes, punctuation problems, and non-sensical structuring.

  40. @Sisquoc I love when people’s only comment refers to a grammar error. I hope that makes you feel superior pointing it out.

    1. Funny! My command of grammar is usually fairly close to perfect, but we’re all human and mistakes are sometimes made – I’ve seen them in the most highly respected publications in the world.

      I’ve never been one to post comments that pick out grammatical errors; I find it crass. Your comment brought a out a grin.

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