Mom Gives Birth to Rare Second Set of Identical Twins

Jeanne Sager

babyWhat's more incredible than beating the slim odds to produce identical twins? Having it happen twice over. The result for Michele and James Dawson may be the cutest thing I've ever seen -- 6-year-old identical twins holding their infant sisters who are themselves a matched set.

The couple are now the proud parents of Lilly and Sophie, 6, and Isabella and Chloe, born this past May. The pictures of the four kids captured by British press are historical and absolutely adorable. But can we talk about how miraculous this really is?

Twins are being trumped as the "in" thing with the likes of Sarah Jessica Parker, Jennifer Lopez, and Neil Patrick Harris parenting their doubles. But fraternal twins -- babies born from two different eggs -- were never that uncommon. Heck, with fraternal twin uncles, my chances of giving birth to fraternal twins myself was upped because my grandmother's body naturally dropped two eggs at the same time. It's a fluke of the menstrual cycle, but it's one that can be passed down from generation to generation. Throw in fertility treatments, in which more than one fertilized egg is implanted in a mom's uterus to try to up her chances of a successful pregnancy, and it's no wonder we're seeing double all the time.

But identical twins are a whole different animal. There's no menstrual cycle issue. Identical twins don't run in families. And fertility treatments don't result in identical twins. The only way it can happen is if the fertilized egg splits in half in the uterus, by itself, creating two babies from the same zygote.

Traditionally, identical twins made up about one third of all twin births. With the jump in fertility treatments in recent years, now it's more like 12 percent. And the Dawsons had it happen not just once, but twice.

Do you know any identical twins?


Image via sabian maggy/Flickr

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