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This Unique Set Of Twins!

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They strive to be close to me. They love my exercises. Jogging! Long treks! Soccer! But there the similarities end...for while Kehinde is extremely attentive, level-headed, self-assured, highly cerebral, bulky in frame and eager to learn and lend a helping hand; Taye has a short attention span, is annoyingly attention-seeking and shamelessly infantile in disposition, quick -tempered, lacking in self esteem, is of a leaner stature, rather selfish and averse to knowledge!

Even their "granny" confesses that she used to be consumed by fear when bathing Taye as a baby because "he was so tiny her hands shook violently during those chores "!

Those differences that were not so apparent in their infancy became progressively more visible as they advanced in age and are so striking now in their teenage years. So,the days of taking Taye for Kehinde in error are over!

The medical phenomenon just described so vividly by "grandma" is called Fetal Steal Syndrome in which one twin literally "steals" from the other twin a substantial fraction of the blood supply due the latter!

And since blood bears life-giving oxygen and nutrition to fetuses via the placenta and umbilical cord, the dire implication of these steals is that the victim is small for gestational age from retarded growth within the womb...while the "thief " having more than the his share of the "goodies" is plump and healthy!

The severest form of this scenario is when the bigger twin...for want of additional womb space, compresses his "womb-mate" into a flat sheet called "Fetus Papyraceus"...literally meaning "paper-like Fetus" or "fetus as flat as paper"!

The comical bent to such situations is whether Taye now strives to retrieve or "steal-back" from Kehinde whatever the latter might have deprived him of in their "womb days"! But that is mere semantics...

The evolution of twins is a rather interesting topic:

If a woman releases two or more eggs at ovulation and each egg is successfully fertilized by as many sperms, she carries as many fetuses in her womb... none of which is identical with another.

Identical twins...or even identical triplets or more, evolve when only one egg fertilized by only one sperm subsequently "breaks" into two or more parts prior to further embryonic development.

Incomplete breakage leads to Conjoint Twins...essentially identical twins joined head-to-head, back-to-back, chest-to-chest (or tummy-to-tummy)!

So, working from the premise that:
"mono"="uni"=1; and,
"di"="bi" =2;
And since the female egg is also called an ovule:
Non-identical twins are binovular since they are formed from two eggs...or ova..

Identical twins are uniovular since they are formed from a single egg or ovum!

Non-identical twins have separate (amniotic) sacs and placentas. Such sacs derive from the amnion while placentas arise from the chorion.

Non-identical twins are always di-amniotic and di-chorionic. Meaning that they have separate amniotic sacs and different placentae.

Identical twins are always mono-chorionic.They may be mono-amniotic or di-amniotic. Meaning that as identical twins compulsorily share a single pacenta, they may dwell in a common or separate amniotic sacs!

Dr Tosin Akindele is a medical practitioner and public affairs analyst.

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Tosin Akindele and do not necessarily reflect those of The Nigerian Voice. The Nigerian Voice will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."

Articles by Tosin Akindele