A Twibling Coda: Triblings?

A few days ago I wrote about a NYT magazine story about “twiblings.”    It’s about a family with two kids concieved (in vitro) at the same time from sperm and eggs from the same people, carried by two different surrogates, born five days apart.   In some ways their experience is similar to that of fraternal twins, in some ways it is not.  

In that same vein, I thought I’d mention this story.   Here we have three children, all conceived (in vitro) at the same time from sperm and eggs from the same people.  Two embryos were transferred to their mother’s uterus 11 years ago and were born simultaneously, making them by almost any account twins, I think.   The third embryo was frozen for over ten years before being transferred to the same woman’s uterus for gestation.   That child was born in 2010.   The story refers to her as a triplet, but she isn’t a triplet in the ordinary way we mean that.  

Indeed, this story really pairs with an earlier post about whether you consider the children born from one round of IVF to be twins even if they are born at different times.  I don’t.   Twin-ness, it seems to me, has something to do with the shared experience of being in the womb together and possibly being raised with a same-age sibling.  Thus, I think the twiblings from the NYT story are closer to twins than the kids here are to triplets. 

It’s not that I think that all this is terribly important.  One of the experts quoted in the article puts it well when she says it is “interesting, yet mundane.”   But I do think  reactions to stories like this tell us something about what we value, about which things matter.  Hence my earlier invocation of the Rorschach test.


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