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The Difference Between Identical Twins And Fraternal Twins

One of the nice things about raising a family in Spain is that Spanish people in general are very family orientated. It’s quite common to find grandparents, parents and children all living under the same roof. What’s more they absolutely adore babies, it’s impossible to walk down the street pushing a pram without stopping every two yards while the next person coo’s and dribbles all over your baby. Now bearing in mind that most Spanish people are dark skinned, dark eyed, and have dark brown hair, if your baby just happens to be pale skinned with bright blue eyes and wavy blond hair it makes it twice as bad. If they happen to be twins, then it can take two hours just to get past the local park. Quite often when we go to the shopping centre I’ll send my wife on ahead to do the shopping, while I try to navigate the hoards of people who make a b-line straight for the double buggy, stand right in front of you so you can’t move anywhere and start up a conversation.

The conversation normally goes, “Oh look there’s two of them, Aren’t they gorgeous, your so lucky, they’re identical how do you tell the difference?” At this point rather than dispute the fact that they’re not identical they’re fraternal which would normally take up another half hour of explanations, I just say “We named them Rebecca and Laura so we keep Rebecca on the right and Laura on the Left that way we don’t get confused!”

We have never had a problem telling them apart, when they were first born they were quite similar, but then I think all babies look the same when they’re first born. As they have grown, they’ve developed completely different characters and features.

So what is the difference between Identical twins and fraternal twins?

As I understand it, Identical twins are produced when a single fertilized egg by some quirk of nature divides into two embryos that develop within the same sac. They share the same cellular and genetic make up and I believe even their DNA’s are Identical. I have heard of some twins being tattooed so they don’t get mixed up!

Fraternal twins on the other hand are two separate eggs that are fertilized and implant into the womb at the same time. This can be because the mother naturally produces more than one egg when she ovulates, or more often than not these days, two or more fertilized eggs have been implanted in the womb through IVF treatment. They have their own individual cellular and genetic make up, develop in separate sacs and each baby has its own unique DNA. In reality they’re not twins at all, they’re brothers or sisters that instead of being born a couple of years apart like normal, they’re born on the same day. We don’t have a word in English for this so we call them twins. The Spanish call Identical twins Gemelos and Fraternal twins Mellizos so there’s no confusion. A good example of fraternal twins is George Bush's daughters, in some photos its hard to tell that they are even sisters.

I’m often told how lucky we are to have twins (normally by people who don’t have twins) because “you only have to go through all the nappy stages and sleepless nights once”. I’m not so sure about that one, but we’ll look at it in another chapter….

For more snippets from Alan Hocking visit his Blog at:

http://www.tapasandtantrums.blogspot.com/ A light-hearted look at life on the Costa del Sol and the ups and downs of bringing up twins, as seen through the eyes of a devoted but very tired father.

Source: www.isnare.com