Mom’s DNA Doesn’t Match Kids’ And The Surprising Reason Behind It

By: Calla Conway | Published: Nov 06, 2023

A children’s DNA connection to their mother may not be something you think about often. It’s not a topic that may be talked about much because the woman is the one who carries and gives birth to the child. This particular woman’s experience was a nightmare that thoroughly confused not only her but everybody else.

How could it even be possible that this woman found out her DNA was not a direct match to any of her kids? It’s a mystery that led to countless unanswered questions and baffled doctors. Keep reading to uncover the bizarre story of the woman whose children didn’t share any of her DNA.

And So The Mystery Begins...

The story begins with a 26-year-old woman, Lydia Fairchild. At the time, she had applied for financial aid from the state of Washington because she didn’t possess the means or income to provide for herself and her family. Proving that all of her kids were her own was one of the requirements needed to receive assistance.


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Lydia had nothing to fear and nothing to hide since this was all just standard procedure. She waited to hear back from the offices after submitting the required information. However, the following events took Lydia completely by surprise.


She Had No Idea That Social Services Would Show Up

Lydia still didn’t feel she had any reason to be afraid after social services showed up since she knew her children were her own. After all, she was pregnant with them and birthed each of them. Naturally, she just figured that the process would require this next step.


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Unaware of what turned out to be a serious situation, Lydia didn’t know what to expect. The social service workers started asking her questions and tried to get her to reveal what her real identity was, according to Lydia.

Lydia Was Experiencing A Surreal Nightmare

No matter how many times Lydia insisted that her children were her own, the social service workers supplied evidence that she couldn’t argue against. Shockingly, her children’s DNA didn’t match when compared to her own.


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Lydia was present through each step of the way in her children’s growing up process throughout the years. Regardless, the evidence provided by the workers would just not compute with what Lydia believed to be true. It confirmed that Lydia’s children weren’t related to her.

The Case Was Untouchable By Lawyers

Lydia was informed by social services that her children could be taken out of her custody at any moment, which was terrifying. So, she called Dr. Dreisbach, her obstetrician, who was there during all of the births of her children. Dr. Dreisbach agreed to testify in court regarding her case.


Source: Human Chimeras

No lawyer would touch Lydia’s case since they saw it as a losing battle. Lydia and her children performed another DNA test, but the results were the same yet again.

A Strange Coincidence Was Also Happening In Another Part Of The U.S.

A woman named Karen Keegan in Boston was also experiencing this bizarre and surreal situation. In need of a kidney transplant, she hoped one of her sons would be a match. However, Karen got some shocking news according to the DNA test she had done.

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The DNA of Karen’s children didn’t match her own, exactly like Lydia’s. Resulting in a baffling mystery, Karen underwent a lifesaving surgery which was supposed to be a simple routine check moving forward.


A Genetic Clue Tied It All Together

Doctors extracted DNA from multiple areas of Karen’s body so they could attempt to get to the bottom of what was happening. In fact, it was one part of her body that held the answers: Karen’s DNA in her thyroid nodule did match that of her children.

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Across the country, this extraordinary find would serve useful to Lydia, fearful and struggling with the possibility that she would lose her children.


It Was A Medical Phenomenon

The medical phenomenon that tied both Karen and Lydia’s cases together was called “chimerism.” It sometimes happens when two eggs are fertilized and one egg absorbs the other one. The resulting union of the fusion of these two eggs can create two genetic codes. How wild is that?!

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Karen was beyond happy that she could put it behind her and that the mystery was finally solved. She had more pressing things to place her attention on than the perplexing mystery of her own children’s DNA. When it came to keeping her children, Lydia faced a whole different problem entirely.


A Case Is Made For Lydia

Eventually, Lydia was able to get a lawyer. Attorney Tindell read about the case in New England in the Journal of Medicine. Upon reading this, he requested that the court give them time to allow Lydia to go through the same tests that Karen had gone through.

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Luckily, it was shown through DNA testing that Lydia also had the same condition as Karen. Her children were her own.


“Probably Wouldn’t Have My Kids”

Lydia said “ I probably wouldn’t have my kids today if they didn’t discover her situation. They wouldn’t have known to even consider me as a chimera.” Thankfully, by pure chance of Karen’s condition and her testing, and Lydia’s lawyer uncovering the truth, Lydia was able to keep her children. 

Source: Life Daily

We are glad that everything worked out for these two women and they got to the bottom of this strange and rare medical mystery.


More About Fairchild's Human Chimerism

Fairchild’s chimerism was different in many ways. For example, human chimerism has certain characteristics including patchy skin pigmentation and different red blood cell lineages, but none of these were the case with Fairchild or Keegan.

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Again, while other known human chimeras had a dominant DNA set in their bodies, with other sets appearing in specific tissues, Keegan’s two different DNA sets were spread across various cells in her body.


Expert Speculations

According to speculations from some researchers, human chimerisms occur as often as non-identical or fraternal twins. This may be because of the close relationship both phenomena share. You see, a chimera happens when two fertilized eggs that could have been non-identical twins fuse together to form two genetically different cell lines during early development.

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Meanwhile, the rate of non-identical twins is constantly increasing, many thanks to fertility treatments and assisted reproductive technologies.


The Twin Inside Me

Fairchild’s story needs to be told over and over again to create awareness of this rare occurrence. Hopefully, this will encourage scientists to intensify efforts into learning about it.

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Fortunately, her story is the inspiration behind “The Twin Inside Me,” a documentary that shed light on chimerism in humans. We hope to see more of these exposés on our big screens.


Can We Trust DNA?

According to experts in the medical field, DNA testing is at least 99.9% accurate in determining the true biological parents of a child. Human chimerism is very rare and that may be because no one considers it as an alternative test after a disputed DNA result, save for special cases like Fairchild’s.

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So, while DNA can still be trusted, we can’t help but wonder if there are mothers that have been separated from their kids for similar reasons. 


There's Never an End to Learning

Fairchild’s case has raised so many questions that may never be answered. For example, what if evidence of human chimerism never came to light in Lydia Fairchild’s case?

Source: Chokniti Khongchum/ Pexels

Another important question is “How much of who we are do we really know?” Every day, new scientific discoveries make us realize that there’s so much about ourselves that we don’t know and there’s never an end to learning.