Twins Have Different Fathers

Filed under: Weird But True

I knew this was a possibility when it came to cats, but I did not realize that two human babies born of the same mother at the same time could have different biological fathers. But they can! And an apparently they do in the case of Dallas mother Mia Washington's 11-month-old twins Justin and Jordan.

It's called heteropaternal superfecundation and can happen when multiple eggs are released during ovulation and are fertilized by sperm from different men. In order accomplish that feat, of course, a woman must have sex with more than one man during that small window of opportunity. Washington admits that she was being unfaithful to her partner, James Harris, at the time the twins were conceived.

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The twins' unusual paternity might never have been discovered if not for the fact that Washington and Harrison noticed that the boys bore little resemblance to each other. DNA testing confirmed that there is a 99.999 percent chance that they do not have the same father and a zero percent chance that they do.

Only a few such cases have been documented in the entire world and Washington is still reeling that it happened to her. "Out of all people in America and of all people in the world, it had to happen to me. I'm very shocked," she says.

Harrison was probably shocked as well, but he is determined to work it out with Washington and raise both boys as his own. He has already forgiven her indiscretion and is working on forgetting. "It's a day by day thing. It's going to take time to build that trust like we had," he says.

Ah, but the happy ending to this story is marred by one small detail: The other father. While Washington says she plans to tell her sons their unusual story when the time is right, she has no intention of telling her former fling that he's a dad. I guess it is her call, but doesn't he have a right to know?

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.