Although parents of boy/girl twins smirk when they are asked if their twins are identical it is actually a relevant question. Yes, boy/girl twins can be identical although it is not a pleasant situation.
As most of us know from all the research we did when we found out we were having twins, the difference between identical and fraternal twins is that identical twins arise from the splitting of one egg. Fraternal twins occur as a result of two eggs being released by the mother at one time. Essentially, fraternal twins are simply siblings that happened to be born at the same time. Taking a lesson from our high school biology classes, female children are born with two “X” chromosomes while males have one “X” and one “Y” chromosome.
There is a condition called Turner ’s syndrome (also known as gonadal dysgenesis), which occurs in approximately 1 in 2500 births. This syndrome causes a once male fetus to drop its male “Y” chromosome, resulting in a female child. Unfortunately, this syndrome carries with it a range of unwanted effects-including short stature/stunted growth, delayed puberty, excessive moles, infertility, obesity, kidney dysfunction, diabetes and hypothyroidism to name a few. As this is a chromosomal disorder, there is currently no known cure.
While Turner ’s syndrome can be diagnosed during infancy (from the presence of certain physical features), there is a chance that with mild symptoms it could go undetected until adolescence. When Turner’s is suspected, there is a test that checks one’s chromosomal characteristics called a karyotype. In some cases, it is not discovered until the woman tries to unsuccessfully conceive a child. Sufferers usually need continuous care from a variety of health care professionals. Fortunately, there are treatments for some of the effects. As for the onset of puberty, this can be assisted with the use of hormone therapy. Also, IVF may assist a woman with Turner ’s syndrome in getting pregnant.
As one could imagine, girls suffering from Turner’s may suffer from self esteem issues, poor self image and/or depression. Therapy and support groups could help to lessen or alleviate some of these problems. Parents of those suffering from Turner’s can expect many visits to the doctor, leading to several tests, procedures, and prescriptions. It is important that all those involved seek out support from wherever they can find it.