Establishing Paternity: Twin Girls, Two Fathers
There’s an interesting case unfolding in New Jersey. It includes twin girls, one mother and now, apparently, two fathers. One of the more interesting factors is the rarity: or maybe not. Some in the medical and scientific fields say it could be more common, but DNA testing is not conducted in most cases. DNA expert Dr. Karl-Hanz Wurzinger that said one in every 13,000 reported paternity cases involving twins have different fathers.
Here’s what happened:
A mother of 2-year-old twins went to court in order to ensure child support from the father of her children. The Passaic County Board of Social Services, as a matter of routine, ordered a DNA test on the babies in order to establish paternity and child support. Everyone was surprised to learn that the named father is not the father of one twin.
Many are asking: how could this happen?
After the DNA results were returned, the mother testified that she had sexual intercourse with two men within a five day period.
The process in which two ova are fertilized within the same menstrual cycle by two separate sperm is called “superfecundation.” Twins born with 2 different fathers are called bipaternal or heteropaternal twins. An egg has a life span of 12 to 48 hours, while sperm is viable for seven to 10 days. This means there is the opportunity for overlap, and ultimately, fertilization of two eggs by two sperm from two separate acts of intercourse with different men. If it all sounds very scientific and overwhelming, you’re not alone—it is.
For now, only one of the little girls has a named father.
The medical expert who testified said, “It is more common than we think. In many situations, you would never know because there is no reason to do a paternity test on twins.” He also said an increase in the number of cases of bipaternal twins is a result of technological advances and the ability to detect it more easily.
The one thing the experts may not agree on: why (and not “how”) this happens so often:
Some in the medical community believe it’s a natural result of promiscuity, while others say it’s reproductive technologies or ovulation induction.
For now, the judge has ordered the father to pay $28 a week in child support for the one child he fathered. That’s not a lot of support, but it’s sure to bring a lot of questions—even years from now. It’s bound to present far more difficulties than many realize, and that’s the tragedy of it.
If nothing else, this case highlights the importance of DNA testing for some parents.
To learn more about your rights as a father, or to find out how to secure DNA testing in Texas, contact our offices today. Our team stands ready to help you fight for your rights.