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Second Set of Twin Girls with Different Coloured Skin

When Alison and Dean Durrant were handed their new born baby twin girls it came as no surprise to the mixed-race parents when they saw the girls had different coloured skin because waiting at home were their first set of twin girls who were also born with different coloured skin.

Their repeated two-toned miracles took place seven years apart with seven year old Lauren having her mum’s red hair and blue eyes while her sister Hayleigh had dark skin and hair like her dad.

They were shocked and delighted when they found out they were expecting twins again and it never crossed their minds that ‘lighting could strike twice’.

The baby girls were born by Caesarean section on November 13 when Alison was just 37 weeks into her pregnancy because scans had revealed both the baby’s were breach.

Miya weighing 4lbs 11oz and Leah at 5lbs 10oz were taken to the special care unit when they had difficulty in breathing and were kept in different parts of the hospital and not seen together for a few days.

Alison said “It wasn’t until about five days after they were born that we saw them side by side for the first time and when they were together it was clear that one was darker than the other. It was unbelievable.”

“Now the girls are back home with us and are very healthy. Lauren and Hayleigh think the new arrivals are fantastic.”

Block paver Dean said: “It was a real shock to the system when I found out we were having twins again. I didn’t think the same thing would happen again. The odds must be millions to one against it.

Finally Got Them All Together

I was running around all over the place between Alison and the girls and when we finally got them all together it was the first time I noticed the difference.

I could tell straight away that one was darker than the other. But it wasn’t as much of a shock as last time, as we had already been in this situation once.”

He went on: “Leah and Miya are so small they haven’t been out much yet — but some people have looked at us a little bit funny when we’re with Lauren and Hayleigh due to the colour difference.

Looking so different has never caused them any problems and I’m sure it won’t for Leah or Miya either. When people see Alison and I they tend to realise why our children are different”.

Big sisters’ Lauren and Hayleigh idolise their new baby twin sisters and are only too happy to help mum and dad along with a string of happy volunteers from family and friends.

Mum Alison said they had in the past the odd comment from people on the different coloured skin between their eldest daughters but said “Everyone knows who their mum and dad is and it doesn’t cause any problems — why should it?

“Children at school used to say to them, ‘You can’t be twins because you’re different colours and some of the other mums didn’t believe they were twins either at first but then they see Dean and I together and realise.”

Dean added: “Having two sets of twins is absolutely hectic and we haven’t even had a chance to work out how much it will cost us.

Chances of Mixed Twins

The odds against a mixed race couple having twins of notably different colour are a million to one making it two in a million chance of a second set of twins like the Durrant girls.

Seven different genes working together determine skin colour and if a women is of mixed race her eggs usually contain a mixture of coding genes for both black and white skin.

Similarly, a man of mixed race will have a variety of different genes in his sperm. When these eggs and sperm come together, they will create a baby of mixed race.

But, very occasionally, the egg or sperm might contain genes coding for one skin colour. If both the egg and sperm contain all white genes, the baby will be white. And if both contain just the versions necessary for black skin, the baby will be black.

For a mixed-race couple, the odds of either one of these scenarios can be around 100 to one. But both scenarios can occur at the same time if the woman conceives non-identical twins, another 100 to one chance.

This involves two eggs being fertilised by two sperm at the same time, which also has odds of around 100 to one.

If a sperm containing all-white genes fuses with a similar egg and a sperm coding for purely black skin fuses with a similar egg, two babies of dramatically different colours will be born.

The odds of this happening are 100 x 100 x 100 - a million to one.

Other Sets of Mixed Race Twins

Terri and Malcolm Rayhaman thought the IVF clinic had mixed up their eggs when their twins were born after their fair skinned son Luca was followed by his darker skinned sister Marina.

Terri said: “It was such a dramatic difference. But as soon as I held Marina I knew she was mine.” Malcolm, the darker of the two, has a Turkish mother.

Kylie Hodgson, of Nottingham gave birth to blonde, fair-skinned Remee and twin sister Kian, who is black, in 2006. Both parents were of mixed race.

And Kerry Richardson, of Middlesbrough, Teesside, told of her two-tone twin boys.

Layton is like his dad who is white. Kaydon is more like his mum, who is of English-Nigerian heritage.

Kerry said: “Everywhere we go you can see people looking and you can tell they are dying to comment. I have to explain they really ARE twins.”

Over the last 20 years the twinning rate has risen by 50 per cent with 11,165 sets born in 2006 alone but the chances of them being different colours is so slim statistics are not kept says Delyth Raffell of multi-birth groups Twins UK.  “I’ve probably heard of two cases in the last two years but I cannot think of a family having had two sets – it really is remarkable”.