A series of increasingly bizarre coincidences came together to create one of the weirdest switched-at-birth stories of all time, when a surrogate mother delivered a set of twins and accidentally gave away her biological child in the process.

According to ABC News, California mom Jessica Allen agreed to be a surrogate mother for a couple from China. She received $30,000, which she wanted to use to be able to stay home with her own two children and save for a house. The money would help, and she’d be able to do something nice for a couple struggling to conceive.

Doctors saw two embryos and assumed it was a set of identical twins. It wasn’t.

The couple’s embryo was implanted, and Allen became pregnant. Later, at her six-week ultrasound, doctors discovered two embryos in her uterus. Everyone assumed the initial embryo had split into a set of identical twins. The couple who hired Allen was ecstatic. Allen received an extra $5,000, per her contract, for carrying the second fetus.

In December of last year, Allen delivered what was presumed to be a set of identical twin boys by C-section. Both babies were given to the parents who had hired Allen. Allen says she didn’t even see them after they were delivered.

Later, however, the other parents realized these could not possibly be identical twins. As newborns it was harder to tell, but as they got older, it was clear they did not look anything alike. One baby was Chinese, and the other baby was not. Allen is white and her husband, Wardell Jasper, is Black. They had two biracial children before Allen became a surrogate, and the “twin” baby was starting to look a lot like Allen and Jasper’s two children and nothing like his supposed identical twin.

The mother who had hired Allen messaged her a photo of the “twins” a month after they were born. “They’re not the same, right?” she asked.

What actually happened was that the Chinese couple’s embryo was implanted, and then Allen’s body released another egg, which was then fertilized by her husband’s sperm. It’s called superfetation and it’s extraordinarily rare. It can happen with IVF or with naturally occurring pregnancies. When it does occur, it usually just results in a set of fraternal twins with different gestational ages. This time it resulted in a set of twins with completely different biological parents.

A DNA test later confirmed that was exactly what had happened.

The other couple did not want Allen and Jasper’s baby, but Allen says she had to go through an emotional nightmare of a court case with the surrogacy agency to get custody of her biological son. At the beginning of February they succeeded. They renamed him Malachi, and now he’s home with his parents and two older brothers.

Allen said the experience was a nightmare, because this was a situation nobody expected, and nobody knew how to handle it. Still, while Allen would warn other surrogate mothers to be cognizant of the idea that the most wildly unexpected things can happen during a pregnancy, Allen says she doesn’t regret being a surrogate, because if she hadn’t done that she wouldn’t have had her son.

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(Image: iStockPhoto / HannamariaH)