An Atlanta Attorney on a Staggering New Discovery on Twin Births
It sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie, but semi-identical twins, though extremely rare, exist. Doctors of maternal medicine know this and now a recent case has them staggered.
Upon first glance, one doctor involved in administering an ultrasound identified two amniotic sacs sharing a single placenta. This was a solid indicator that the maternal patient would give birth to identical twins.
At 14 weeks of pregnancy, however, Dr. Nicholas M. Fisk, a maternal-fetal medicine specialist at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital in Australia, noticed something unusual. One boy and one girl sharing the same placenta. This placed the twins into a rare category - sesquizygotic twins, the first to be discovered during pregnancy.
How common are sesquizygotic twins?
The first known case of sesquizygotic twins occurred in 2007, which involved the birth of a boy and girl. The girl, however, reportedly had ambiguous genitalia – which resulted in the development of both ovarian and testicular tissue. After a visit to a doctor, a medical team theorized two possible scenarios:
- A single egg may have divided into two before being fertilized by two different sperm
- The egg was fertilized by two different sperm and then divided into two
Most twins are classified as either monozygotic (genetically identical) or dizygotic (sharing approximately 50 percent of DNA). Sesquizygotic twins, on the other hand, share between 50 and 100 percent of DNA.
Identical twins are usually conceived when an embryo comprising a single egg and single sperm splits in two. Sesquizygotic twins, however, are conceived when two sperm cells fuse with one egg, forming an embryo that splits in two.
In this case, both the boy and girl – now four-years-old – share 100 percent of their mother’s DNA and only a small portion of their father’s DNA.
According to Fisk, this shouldn’t be biologically possible.
“When a sperm enters an egg, the membrane locks down to stop any other sperm from getting in,” he said.
Since sesquizygotic twins are a newly discovered phenomenon, it leaves some adult twins questioning if they were born semi-identical. It currently remains a mystery among medical professionals – one that warrants a great deal of research.
At Tyrone Law Firm, PC, we’ll stay updated on further developments and research regarding sesquizygotic twins.
It’s our mission to help families who are impacted by pregnancies gone awry. As more research is done, it’s up to medical professionals to monitor the development of twins in the womb and provide the best care to prevent serious health conditions from developing in children.
If your child has been impacted, it is critical that you speak to an experienced and compassionate Atlanta birth injury lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.