Adopted Twins Meet and Marry

Given the ever more complex family (and non-family) arrangements, you\’d think that things like this would happen more often:

Twins who were separated at birth have married each other, unaware that they were brother and sister.

Each had been adopted by a different family, with neither being told they had a twin.

We do tend to be physically attracted to those we are genetically close to. The reason we\’re not all hillbillies (the old joke is that a hillbilly virgin is one who can run faster than her brothers) is that there seems to be a mechanism whereby those who actually grow up together switch off that physical attraction bit (there are various thoughts about how this actually happens).

With the rise of IVF, sperm and egg donation etc, it does actually seem entirely sensible that this bcomes law:

"The right for children to know the identity of their biological parents is a human right.

"There will be more cases like this if children are not given access to the truth. The needs of the child must always be paramount.

"If you start trying to conceal someone\’s identity, sooner or later the truth will out.

"And if you don\’t know you are biologically related someone, you may become attracted to them and tragedies like this may occur."

I\’m not sure about human right, but as a matter of practicality. There\’s already a limit on the number of children a sperm donor (8 I think it is) can sire to reduce the possibility of such things happening.

5 thoughts on “Adopted Twins Meet and Marry”

  1. So legislation is passed to force information to be divulged about the parentage of children.

    Result one: one? two? A few? “unfortunate instances” of this sort are avoided. Other arrangements of the type will continue as they always have, sub rosa.

    Result two: potentially thousands of 20+ year olds running round tracing parents and creating havoc by knocking on doors.

    Yes, people should take responsibility for their breeding peccadilloes and accidents but it’s not clear to me that the potential jeopardy to the wellbeing of hundreds of family units who may have no knowledge of the earlier child, is a good exchange for avoiding a few “unfortunate incidents”.

  2. Interestingly, there is no increased genetic risk for children born from brothers and sisters – the risk only rises in the 2nd and 3rd generation of inter-breeding. So there is no medical reason for changing the law.

  3. The whole thing sounds like the plot of an Elizabethan play, but surely the chances of close relatives meeting, falling in love and marrying must be so remote as to be statistically irrelevant? Better to change the law to make their genetic history – re hereditary diseases and such – available to adopted children or those conceived using a sperm donor.

  4. As quite a few children born in any marriage are not sired by the husband – based on DNA studies – does this mean that all children should be DNAed?
    What is so special about marriage anyway?

  5. Why should the state trample over the lives of all children, in order to prevent a very marginal risk of accidental consanguineous marriage?
    We have marriages happening between first cousins throughout the asian muslim population of the UK. We should be dealing with institutionalised deliberate incest first.

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