In January 2019, a set of miracle twins were born: A woman gave birth two twins who each had a different biological father. This is their story. (1)
The Miracle Twins
A female giving birth to children with different biological fathers at the same time, called heteropaternal superfecundation, is actually not so uncommon – in the animal world, at least. Dogs, cats, and cows experience this phenomenon quite often. (2)
In the animal kingdom, the ability for multiple males to impregnate a female at the same time allows for more offspring to be born. More offspring born means that likely a higher number will survive into adulthood and carry on the species. (2)
In humans, however, this is quite rare. Experts say that these miracle twins happen only in anywhere from one in 400 sets of fraternal twins to 1 in 13,000. This, of course, is what makes them miracles. (2)
Two Fathers’ Miracle Twins
Simon and Graeme Berny-Edwards are a couple living in London, England. They wanted to have children, but couldn’t decide which one of them should be the biological father of their first child. (1)
Husbands who each biologically fathered one twin share their amazing story— LGBT News World (@LGBTNewsWorld) January 29, 2019
‘There has been so many lovely comments’ Simon tells GSN after he and his husband Graeme went public with their story of welcoming twins over the weekendhttps://t.co/C7Z9gOZ1ad pic.twitter.com/Cb5nd6OL8x
They heard of how using an egg donor and a surrogate, doctors can implant two separate embryos from each father into the same woman. As long as both embryos take, then she will give birth to two babies, one from each father. (1)
Not Available in England
This kind of procedure isn’t available in England, so the hopeful fathers had to look for a doctor and a surrogate elsewhere. They made a profile on a surrogacy website and waited to find a match. (1)
Canadian woman Meg Stone saw their profile and wanted to help. (1)
“I saw Simon and Graeme’s profile on a surrogacy website and I thought they had lovely smiles,” she said. “I had recently split with my partner and I wasn’t ready for another baby, so I wanted to help someone.” (1)
The Berny-Edwards flew first to Los Angeles to fertilize eggs from an anonymous donor, then they went to Canada to meet Meg. The three clicked right away and so went ahead with the procedure. Six months later, she was inseminated. (1)
It was a nerve-wracking process for all, knowing that there was a possibility that only one of the embryos would take.
The men watched nervously, hoping to see two heartbeats. When they finally did, they were overjoyed. Simon and Graeme were both going to be fathers.
The couple flew to Canada for the 19-week scan, when they also got to feel the baby kick in Meg’s stomach for the first time. At 31-weeks, she experienced pains that she thought might mean labor, so Berny-Edwards’ flew out. Though it was a false alarm, they stayed in Canada until five weeks later when Stone did finally give birth to two healthy babies: Calder and Alexandra Berny-Edwards. (1)
“It was the most amazing experience of our lives,” Simon said. “Alexandra was born first and then Calder arrived minutes later. When we both held them for the first time, we couldn’t believe that we were both daddies.” (1)
Three New Family Members
The new dads stayed in Canada for nearly two months more before flying home with their little ones. Saying goodbye to Meg, who had two children of her own, was difficult, however, because she had really become part of their family. (1)
It wasn’t goodbye forever, though, as the fathers flew Meg out to England to help them celebrate the miracle twins’ birthday a year later. (1)
Can Heteropaternal Superfecundation Happen Naturally?
Though super rare in humans, it is possible for this phenomenon to occur naturally. There are two specific scenarios for this to take place (2):
- A woman releases two eggs at the same time. If she has sex with one man just before the eggs are released and the other just after. The sperm, which can survive for a few days in the female reproductive tract, can then fertilize each egg.
- A woman releases two eggs several days apart but within the same reproductive cycle. She then has sex with two different men during that time.
As already mentioned, this is incredibly rare for it to happen and for both embryos to be successful.
Seriously cute – meet Alexandra and Calder – twins who have two different biological dads.— Victoria Derbyshire (@VictoriaLIVE) February 13, 2019
Their dads, Simon and Graeme Berney-Edwards, explain how they were born using IVF and a surrogate in Canada. pic.twitter.com/iEVSrabV7A
Miracle Twins, Miracle Family
The Berny-Ewards are overjoyed with their little family and incredibly grateful to Meg and the doctors who helped them. Miracle twins, indeed.