Identical or Fraternal Twins
Since we were conceived and born, we have never known if we were identical or fraternal twins. We have also never really wanted a definite answer. For me (Kristen) I didn’t want to know what we were because I felt like our twin bond wouldn’t be as meaningful if we were fraternal. Even though I have been accepting that it doesn’t matter and doesn’t change anything, it is still a big deal to finally know what we are.
We hadn’t talked about knowing for years, until Katie became pregnant with her first baby. When I did some research, I found out that when identical twins have babies, those babies share as much DNA as half-siblings (25%) vs. cousins from singleton parents who share less DNA (12.5%). When I found this out and told Katie, we were both on board for finally finding out what category we fall under.
Us and our mom all have been curious, but never pulled the trigger on testing. Also, DNA testing has become very affordable and accessible at home compared to just 10 or 20 years ago. After doing some research on what test we would need and comparing prices of labs, we chose one and ordered our zygosity test.
For context, fraternal twins happen when two separate eggs are fertilized by two separate sperm, but identical twins form from a single fertilized egg that splits into two. Fraternal twins’ DNA is like any other sibling, about 50% shared DNA. Identical twins’ DNA is almost the exact same. Fraternal twins can be the same or different gender, where identical twins are always the same gender.
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We ended up ordering a zygosity test from EasyDNA. After researching different home DNA testing options, we chose EasyDNA because of their positive reviews, cost, and quick turnaround time. The test only cost us $119 which doesn’t seem like that much considering home testing was not an option just a few years ago. Once we placed our order, the test kits came within a week. Collecting our DNA took a matter of minutes. We were each given 2 long cotton-tipped swabs that we had to rub on the inside of our cheeks for 1 minute each. Once we were finished swabbing, we had to let the swabs dry for 1 hour before packaging them in the provided packages. Since the test came to my house, I swabbed my cheek before Katie even got to my house, then she did hers completely separate to make sure we didn’t mix anything up. We each had to fill out a piece of paperwork and label our swab packages, then I popped them in the mail on June 14, 2022. The estimated date to receive our results was June 28th, so we were surprised when they emailed us on June 22nd that our results were in.
We knew we wanted to find out together and with our family at the same time, so we had my best friend, Rami, look at the results. Our 30th birthday was on June 20th, but we already had a family celebration set for Saturday, June 25th so we decided to wait a few days so we could share the moment together.
Katie and I brainstormed a few fun ways to reveal the results and ended up finding big Easter eggs at Hobby Lobby. I bought three eggs and covered one in purple glitter (purple was my identifying color growing up), one in pink glitter (Katie’s identifying color growing up), and one in pink AND purple glitter. I also bought a box that would fit the eggs that I then used my Cricut to decorate. The plan was, it we were fraternal twins, the purple and pink eggs would be in the box when we opened it (since fraternal twins are created by two different eggs), and only one egg (purple and pink) would be in the box if we were identical (since identical twins come from one egg that splits). Clever, huh??
Morning of our big reveal day, we posted on our social media accounts to take a poll on how many people thought we were fraternal and how many people thought we were identical. The results came back with 56% voting identical, and 44% fraternal. However, our family was voting primarily for fraternal.
Finally, it was time to find out – the answer to the question we have been asked countless times by friends, family, co-workers, and strangers. We were both kind of nervous which seems silly because the results don’t change anything. Everyone at our family gathering took one final guess with mixed answers. I said identical only because I was hopeful, and Katie said fraternal which is what we both have always thought (because Mary Kate and Ashley are fraternal but look totally the same!)
It was time to open the box! We lifted the lid of the box together and buried under the tissue paper was…….ONE PURPLE AND PINK EGG! I think it is safe to say we were shocked! For 30 years we really thought we were fraternal so finding out we are IDENTICAL was just wild. Mom and Dad were equally surprised. My husband was 100% sure we were fraternal and he couldn’t believe it, but Katie’s husband had voted identical all along and wasn’t shocked.
So, now WE know, YOU know, and now we can answer one of the top questions we get asked all the time – Are you identical?. Yes, we are identical!
And just for fun, here are some pics from growing up. We looked so much more similar when we were younger! But as adults we have really changed from one another. Just another reason we were so surprised.