Okay, the are they identical boy/girl twins?

(5 posts)(5 voices)
  1. \"Are they identical?\" As the mother of a boy girl set of twins, that question sometimes annoyed me. It seemed to me that it should be obvious to anyone observing them that opposite sex twins are not identical, (the splitting of one egg fertilized by one sperm), but fraternal (two eggs being fertilized during the same ovulation cycle, by two different sperm). The nature of the word identical invokes thoughts of two or more things being exact in appearance.

    In the world of twins, conventional wisdom stated that the only possible combination of identical twins was either boy/boy or girl/girl. The idea of boy/girl identical twins was not seriously undertaken, until recently.

    Although extremely rare, there are now documented cases of boy/girl identical twins.

    A brief science lesson as to how the phenomena could realistically take place would begin with an egg being fertilized by one sperm, then dividing itself into two separate eggs, which is also the exact way identical same-gendered twins begin life. However, in the case of boy/girl identical twins, those fertilized eggs initially both contain male DNA only.

    We all learned in high school biology that male DNA have an X-chromosome and a Y-chromosome and it’s the Y-chromosome which makes him male and female DNA have two X-chromosomes. Well, in the case of mixed-gendered identical twins, which always begin male, the Y-chromosome disappears, and science has offered no explanation for it. As a result of losing the Y-chromosome, the male twin becomes female with an XO DNA chromosome pairing. The name for this condition is called Turner's Syndrome.

    According to the Turner's Syndrome Society of the United States, the disease is a chromosomal affliction that affects 1 in 2000 births. The most prominent characteristics of Turner's Syndrome is short stature and infertility, with the average woman afflicted with the condition reaching a height of 4'8\". Thirty percent of women with Turner's Syndrome also suffer from kidney and heart ailments, according to the group, which is the largest advocacy organization for those associated with the disease.

    Most girls born with Turner's Syndrome did not begin as a twin, as most pregnancies where one of the fetuses has the disease ends in miscarriage. The overwhelming majority of boy/girl twins are born fraternal. Scientific studies have shown that there are only 6 known cases of identical boy girl twins worldwide as most go unreported.

    I copied and pasted this so it's of course not my own findings. Ooops to the author I forgot to credit but just thought some you you ladies may find this interesting. I knew there were a few cases but now I see as I suspected it's actually an abnormality filled with problems.

    Way too long of course to try to explain to the average moron that asks this question along with the \"are they natural\"?


  2. Wow - that was interesting stuff. Thanks for sharing.

    I also think it's funny when people ask if my b/g twins are identicle. If I know them well enough I say something like \"I don't think a penis and a vagina are the same thing...\" And they usually realize that what they've said is pretty ridiculous and we all have a good laugh.

    For the general public, I try to remind myself that most people are clueless AND curious about twins, which can make for some pretty interesting comments. And depending on my mood that day, I find them funny or insensitive. That \"are they natural\" thing is what really gets me. I always say, \"No, they're aliens.\" Read that in a twin book. Also when people (aka complete and total strangers) ask the seemingly harmless question, \"do twins run in your family\" again depending on my mood I either say YES and keep moving or say NO, it was a total shocker. Which in my IF mind, yes, it was a total shocker that there were twins. It was a shocker there was anything!

    FWIW, the comments were a lot worse when I was pregnant. Now that the babies are here, most of the stuff I hear from strangers is all positive and fun. Sometimes I go to Target just so people can tell me how cute they are and I'm not kidding!! LOL

  3. Susan---yeah, I've tried to explain that to people, but they get confused--- there's a great explanation on Nat. Geographic's Multiples in the Womb DVD.

  4. Wait, I had someone ask me if my boy/girl twins (dressed in a non-confusing manner) ask if they were identical. I pointed out that they were a boy and a girl. The lady still seemed confused and asked me \"well, how does that happen?\" I politely responded that 2 seperate eggs get fertilized by 2 seperate sperm. She appeared horrified and exclaimed \"you mean there were 2 fathers!\"

    I had to bite my tongue to keep from saying \"well yes, of course!\"

    And no, I was polite and explained the process a bit more but I WANTED to just say YES! and walk away. People are unbelievable...


  5. Varvara, that was hysterical!

    I\'m 29 weeks with b/g twins, and when folks ask me if they're identical I just look at them and say, \"Now think about that for a minute.\" If they have further issues I say, \"What does identical mean, exactly?\" Thus far, folks have gotten it.

    I\'ve had the experience, too, of having people be confused about identical twins running in the family. My own brother got worried and asked if he'd have twins. I said, nope, not unless a) you use fertility drugs like we did, or b) you release the eggs in your relationship!

    The information about Turner Syndrome is interesting, though. I work (or used to and hope to again some day) with infants and toddlers with a variety of disabilities. Chromosomal issues like Turners can be very difficult, if not brutal. It also raises interesting questions about gender and what determines it. Is it always xx or xy? What about xo? Or xxy or xyy? The more we learn about such things the more interesting it gets.

    No matter what, here is to each of us having healthy babies and never having to worry about such things outside of teaching JQ Public what the term \"identical\" means!

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