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The True Stories of Babies Switched at Birth

by Nancy L. Segal

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-61614-437-1
Publisher: Prometheus Books

Noted twin-study expert Segal (Psychology/California State Univ., Fullerton; Indivisible by Two, 2007, etc.) doubles the fascination with switched-at-birth twin research.

The author’s latest study took her to Spain’s Canary Islands to interview identical twins Alicia and Blanca, and Blanca’s biologically unrelated sister Carla. All three women were born in the same hospital in 1973, but hospital officials mistakenly sent Carla home as Blanca’s “identical twin.” Alicia, the real twin, was released to a different family and raised as a single child. Over the years, things seemed odd—Carla didn’t really look or act like her twin, for one—but the switch was only revealed after a coincidental encounter in a shopping mall when the women were 28. The shocking discovery had many effects, including emotional trauma and a lawsuit that dragged on for years. Both families were thrust into the media spotlight. Segal’s study of switched-at-birth twins reveals much insight into the nature-vs.-nurture paradigm. Identical twins Alicia and Blanca had the same walk and gestures, but Alicia also had similarities to her biological mother, whom she had never met—they even wore the same lipstick. Segal, a fraternal twin, spearheaded the study of virtual twins—i.e., “same age unrelated children reared together since infancy.” The author references other cases as well, like that of Brent and George, identical twins who met for the first time while at college.

An expert glimpse into the many-faceted world of genetics, family culture and identity.