What if you had a twin inside of you? Cells of a sibling, child, or even a former lover can persist in our bodies for decades sparking tantalizing questions about identity and twins.
In 2002 Lydia Fairchild—the mother of two and pregnant with her third—applied for childcare assistance. During the routine investigation she underwent DNA testing. It was supposed to be a simple paternity test, but turned into a battle to keep her children.
The DNA test confirmed that Jamie Townsend was, in fact, their father, but indicated Fairchild was not their mother. Shocked, Fairchild found her children’s birth certificates and pictures of her pregnancy.
Even during her delivery of her third child prosecutors witnessed blood being drawn from both mother and new born. But the results were still the same, Fairchild was not the mother. In fact, the children were a genetic match to her husband and her brother, their uncle.
Doctors soon discovered that she had a rare condition called chimerism (kī-ˈmir-ˌi-zəm); a genetic blend of two different cells within one person. As a result, Fairchild’s DNA from her skin and blood was different from her reproductive organs. It has been considered a condition that produces a twin inside of you.
After her ordeal, Fairchild was the subject of a British documentary called The Twin Inside Me (also known as “I Am My Own Twin”). Today, she continues to be a healthy mother with her three children, but psychologist question her own development, identity, and even her true self.
For more reading:
Sam Kean. “The You in Me.” March 11,2013. Psychology Today