Created By: ReverendMeteor on June 8, 2011 Last Edited By: allburningup on July 17, 2011

Heteropaternal Superfecundation

fraternal twins who have different fathers

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Heteropaternal Superfecundation is when a woman releases two ova that are fertilized by two different men's sperm presumably in two seperate instances of intercourse in a relatively short period of time resulting in fraternal (non-identical) twins who are half-siblings.

Real Life examples: This has happened twice on the Maury Povich show during his baby paternity episodes. In typical fashion a woman brings a man to the Maury Povich show and shouts at him about being the father of the twins. The guy comes out and shouts that he isn't. Turns out they're both wrong and he's the father of only one of them.

  • A news item in 2009 reported a texas woman named Mia Washington gave birth to twins from different fathers. She and her partner James Harrison got suspicious when one of the twin boys didn't resemble him. She eventually admitted to an affair with another man.

Mythological examples:
  • Heracles and his twin brother Iphicles. Heracles's human mother Alcmene gave birth to twins. Her son Iphicles was the son of her human husband King Amphitryon and Heracles who was the son of the Greek god Zeus.

  • In some accounts the god Zeus is the father of two of the human princess Leda's quadruplets. One night he came to Leda as a swan. Leda gave birth to four eggs from which hatched her four children Castor & Pollux (the twins we name the constellation Gemini after), Helen of Troy and Clytemnestra. Zeus is the father of Castor and Helen. Leda's husband Tyndareus is the father of Pollux and Clytemnestra. Pollux being Zeus's son is immortal while his brother Castor is not. Helen the face that led to the Trojan War is also Zeus's while Clytemnestra (mother of Electra) is Tyndareus daughter.

Literary examples:
  • twins Tommo and Hawk Solomon in Bryce Courtenay's Australian Trilogy

  • Anime examples:
  • Boku wa Imōto ni Koi o Suru - twins Yori and Iku have different fathers.

Live action Television examples: This has been a plot on at least 3 soap operas but it was retconned away on one of them.

  • One Life To Live- It is revealed that Victoria Lord (who has multiple personality disorder) was raped by villain Mitch Lawrence. She became pregnant with twin girls, one was her daughter Jessica by Mitch and the other daughter Natalie by her husband Clint. Mitch kidnapped Clint's daughter Natalie and her raised by another family while his child Jessica was raised by Clint and Victoria. Years later Mitch marries a grown up Natalie (the half sister/twin of his daughter) in a bizarre revenge plot to steal Victoria's fortune.

  • Days of Our Lives. Sami Brady is raped/coerced into sex by EJ Dimera while she is married to Lucas Roberts. She later gives birth to twins John and Alice. John is EJ's son while Alice is Lucas daughter. Later in typical soap fashion Sami falls in love with her rapist EJ and has another daughter with him.

  • Guiding Light. Blake Thorpe Marler gave birth to fraternal twin boys Jason and Kevin. Blake discovered that her son Kevin was fathered by her lover Rick Bauer but Jason was fathered by her husband Ross Marler. It was eventually revealed that another character who worked at the hospital swapped dna results to make it appear that Rick was Kevin's father but in fact both twins were fathered by Blake's husband.

Community Feedback Replies: 12
  • June 8, 2011
    1. I approve of this trope

    2. It needs a different title or no one will ever be able to find/remember it.
  • June 11, 2011
    You got Castor and Pollux mixed up somewhere in there. Read it carefully.
  • June 11, 2011
    Rising Stars: It turns out two of the characters are half-brothers, their mother having an affair, sleeping with one a few hours after the other during the Mass Empowering Event.
  • June 11, 2011
    Sesquidepalian Locquaciousness title - and the fact that I can't even spell that one correctly shows exactly what the problem is. It'll be impossible to link to.
  • June 11, 2011
    Yeah, this really needs a better name. How about Castor And Pollux, as one of the ur-examples?
  • June 11, 2011
  • June 11, 2011
    Contradiction in the Zeus example: "Leda's husband Tyndareus is the father of Pollux and Clytemnestra. Pollux being Zeus's son is immortal while his brother Castor is not."

    ^ Fraternal twinness is an indispensible component of the trope, and your suggestion does not imply this component in the slightest. Besides, it shouldn't be limited to males; I say Fraternal Twin From A Different Father.

    ^^ Characters being the main names of a trope is greatly frowned upon; I don't see a problem with making that a redirect, however.
  • June 11, 2011
    We could probably shorten it further to just Twins With Different Fathers. That about sums it up.

    (Also, I recall learning that there was some kind of ancient culture that believed ALL twins were conceived this way, thus treating twins as proof of adultery, but the details elude me.)
  • June 11, 2011
    Just out of curiosity, should we add a disclaimer saying "Any attempt at adding Twins With Different Mothers 'examples' using Gender Inverted Trope as an excuse will be zapped with extreme prejudice"? Or is Twins With Different Mothers really possible?
  • June 12, 2011
    Real Life: Neil Patrick Harris and his partner David have twins conceived through Artificial Insemination (both eggs from the same donor) and carried to term by a surrogate. Neil fertilized one egg and David the other, and they both took.
  • June 13, 2011
    This is bordering on People Sit On Chairs territory. A medical oddity is not a trope.

    I can see it as a kind of Daytime TV trope, where it's used as the Take A Third Option resolution to the question of twin paternity. This would keep the Maury and Soap Opera examples, but excise the mythological ones and some of the Real Life, since they really have nothing in common trope-wise.
  • July 17, 2011
    ^ Why not? It's not everyday that you hear of such a case IRL, let alone in fictional media.