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Fraternal twins can have two fathers, but how?

On Behalf of | Jun 4, 2015 | Fathers' Rights |

In any child custody and child support case, paternity is a deciding factor. That’s because courts here in Ohio don’t want to order a man to pay support or give him parental rights if a link to the child cannot be established either through voluntary acknowledgement or through genetic testing.

Now, most people know how babies are made. In most cases, people assume: one pregnancy, one father. But did you know that there is a biological quirk that can turn this assumption on its head? In fact, did you know that it’s possible for fraternal twins to have two different fathers? Let’s take a look.

With most pregnancies, a woman’s ovaries release one egg that is then fertilized. In some cases though, a woman’s ovaries can actually release two eggs which, if fertilized, can produce fraternal twins. But in a process called superfecundation, the two eggs released by the ovaries are not fertilized by the same sperm but rather by two different sets.

This can happen if a woman has intercourse with two different individuals within the same ovulation period thus resulting in two different fathers for the fraternal twins.

The reason we’re talking about this quirk of nature in today’s post is actually because of a recent case out of New Jersey where a judge reviewed a child support case involving fraternal twins. After genetic testing, it was determined that the man named as the father of both girls was actually only the father of one of the girls, making him only liable for support of that child.

Even though this case took place in another state, biology has no boundaries, meaning a case like this could easily crop up here in Ohio in the future. But like the courts in New Jersey, our state courts will use paternity to establish a link between father and child, thereby giving guidance for other family law issues such as child support, child custody and even visitation.

Sources:, “Strange but true: Twins can have different fathers,” Evonne Lack, Accessed June 4, 2015

The Washington Post, “Paternity Case for a New Jersey Mother of Twins Bears Unexpected Results: Two Fathers,” Benjamin Mueller, May 7, 2015

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, “Administrative Paternity Establishment Overview,” Accessed June 4, 2015