Superfecundation is the fertilization of two or more ova from the same cycle by sperm from separate acts of sexual intercourse, which can lead to twin babies from two separate biological fathers.[1][2] The term superfecundation is derived from fecund, meaning able to produce offspring. Homopaternal superfecundation is fertilization of two separate ova from the same father, leading to fraternal twins,[3] while heteropaternal superfecundation is a form of atypical twinning where, genetically, the twins are half siblings – sharing the same mother, but with different fathers.

Conception edit

Sperm cells can live inside a female's body for up to five days, and once ovulation occurs, the egg remains viable for 12–48 hours before it begins to disintegrate.[4] Superfecundation most commonly happens within hours or days of the first instance of fertilization with ova released during the same cycle.

Ovulation is normally suspended during pregnancy to prevent further ova becoming fertilized and to help increase the chances of a full-term pregnancy. However, if an ovum is atypically released after the female was already impregnated when previously ovulating, a chance of a second pregnancy occurs, albeit at a different stage of development. This is known as superfetation.[5]

Heteropaternal superfecundation edit

Heteropaternal superfecundation is common in animals such as cats and dogs. Stray dogs can produce litters in which every puppy has a different sire. Though rare in humans, cases have been documented. In one study on humans, the frequency was 2.4% among dizygotic twins whose parents had been involved in paternity suits.[6]

Cases in Greek mythology edit

Greek mythology holds many cases of superfecundation:

Selected cases involving superfecundation edit

In 1982, twins who were born with two different skin colors were discovered to be conceived as a result of heteropaternal superfecundation.[7][5]

In 1995, a young woman gave birth to diamniotic monochorionic twins, who were originally assumed to be monozygotic twins until a paternity suit led to a DNA test. This led to the discovery that the twins had different fathers.[3]

In 2001, a case of spontaneous monopaternal superfecundation was reported after a woman undergoing IVF treatments gave birth to quintuplets after only two embryos were implanted. Genetic testing supported that the twinning was not a result of the embryos splitting, and that all five boys shared the same father.[5][8]

In 2008, on the Maury Show a paternity test on live television established a heteropaternal superfecundation.[9]

In 2015, a judge in New Jersey ruled that a man should only pay child support for one of two twins, as he was only the biological father to one of the children.[10]

In 2016, an IVF-implanted surrogate mother gave birth to two children: one genetically unrelated child from an implanted embryo, and a biological child from her own egg and her husband's sperm.[11]

In 2019, a Chinese woman was reported to have two babies from different fathers, one of whom was her husband and the other was a man having a secret affair with her during the same time.[12]

In 2022, a 19-year-old Brazilian from Mineiros gave birth to twins from two different fathers with whom she had sex on the same day.[13]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ Worland, Justin (May 8, 2015). "The Science of How Women Can Have Twins With 2 Different Fathers". Time. Retrieved March 23, 2017.
  2. ^ "Public Education Pamphlets".
  3. ^ a b Ambach, E; Parson, W; Brezinka, C (2000). "Superfecundation and dual paternity in a twin pregnancy ending with placental abruption". Journal of Forensic Sciences. 45 (1): 181–3. doi:10.1520/JFS14656J. PMID 10641935.
  4. ^ Dunkin, Mary Anne. "Sperm: How Long Sperm Live, Sperm Count, and More". WebMD. Retrieved 2022-01-06.
  5. ^ a b c McNamara, Helen C.; Kane, Stefan C.; Craig, Jeffrey M.; Short, Roger V.; Umstad, Mark P. (2016). "A review of the mechanisms and evidence for typical and atypical twinning". American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. 214 (2): 172–91. doi:10.1016/j.ajog.2015.10.930. PMID 26548710.
  6. ^ Wenk, R. E.; Houtz, T; Brooks, M; Chiafari, F. A. (1992). "How frequent is heteropaternal superfecundation?". Acta Geneticae Medicae et Gemellologiae. 41 (1): 43–7. doi:10.1017/S000156600000249X. PMID 1488855. S2CID 23507167.
  7. ^ "Scopus - Error". Archived from the original on 2020-04-27. Retrieved 2018-10-13.
  8. ^ Amsalem, Hagai; Tsvieli, Rimona; Zentner, Bat Sheva; Yagel, Simcha; Mitrani-Rosenbaum, Stella; Hurwitz, Arye (2001). "Monopaternal superfecundation of quintuplets after transfer of two embryos in an in vitro fertilization cycle". Fertility and Sterility. 76 (3): 621–3. doi:10.1016/S0015-0282(01)01976-8. PMID 11532493.
  9. ^ Griffith, Ivy (2022-03-21). "The Maury Show Canceled: A Look Back at the Wildest Moments". CelebMagazine. Retrieved 2023-08-17.
  10. ^ "New Jersey judge rules twin girls have different fathers". CNN. 8 May 2015.
  11. ^ Susan Scutti (November 3, 2017). "Surrogate mom delivers two babies, one her own". CNN.
  12. ^ "Chinese woman gives birth to twin babies from different fathers in one-in-a-million case". DailySabah. 29 March 2019.
  13. ^ "19-Year-Old Brazilian Woman Gives Birth to Twins From 2 Different Fathers". Science Times. 12 September 2022.

Further reading edit