Thursday, 19 August 2010

The truth about Mary

I was at the supermarket last night and I picked up the latest New Idea magazine and flicked through it as I was waiting at the checkout (as you do). It featured Princess Mary of Denmark who is expecting twins in January, which is not news to most. I am excited for them! It is lovely news.

I really like Mary. I think she is poised and glamorous and, for a person not born into the life she leads, she is dealing remarkably well with the oppression, paparazzi and conservatism. She has mastered regal.

Even my love of Mary couldn't stop me from being irritated by the article about her expected "double miracles", as Frederick put it.

In an attempt to 'get a scoop', New Idea reported absolute drivel about the pregnancy.

Firstly, although Mary and Fred did not state that they know what the gender of the babies are, there was a little 'box' stating that the sonographer at the hospital was calling them Princess A and Princess B, so they drew a long bow from this and proclaimed them to be girls! How many weeks pregnant is she?

They very well could be female, but it being August, and the babies not being due until January, there is a fair chance that the parent's don't know the gender of the babies yet (unless she's had chromosomal testing, or the like). Mary and Fred may not know, but the Australian public does.

Secondly, the same little box stated that the 'girls' are identical babies. Now, I assume from this confident statement that there is only one sac present (which occurs in only about 30% of twin pregnancies), but I do not know if this is the case or not.

Incidentally, if there are two sacs there is no way to tell if the babies are identical or not in utero.

As I only skimmed the article, I don't know if Mary confirmed she is expecting monozygotic twins (aka identical), but the headline of the article would suggest so, so we shall continue.

The article went on to 'out' the last twins born into Frederick's family and stated something along the lines of "twins run in his family". This really gave me the shits.

Identical twins are seen as a 'random event' and are not known to 'run in families'.

The example they gave in the article was of a set of female twins born in 1972 from the wife of Frederick's cousin.


The known genetic aspect of twinning relates to fraternal (dizygotic twins) in which women in the family release more than one egg  (hyperovulation).

How New Idea made a connection between Frederick's male cousin's wife and the alleged identical twins that Princess Mary is carrying is completely beyond me! These two situations are interesting yes, but in no way related to each other. I wish these publications would do some research.

I suppose when even your own doctor can ask the question "Are they identical?" when you have had boy/girl twins, it may be asking too much for a journalist to have some understanding of the mechanism of twinning? But then, if it is your job to interview such big celebrities, you'd think you'd do your homework so you didn't look like a complete doofus (and annoy every twin Mum that reads your article)!

Photo credit: This comes from a blog dedicated to Mary and Fred and family.


alliecat said...

Thanks for this post, I couldn't agree more! I have studied genetics at uni, and just being genuinely interested in the topic, it annoys me to tears the way people say twins 'run in their family', often on the male side, and other unrelated situations like this, a cousins wife! No blood relative at all, AND on the male side. How ridiculous. I have heard the identical question posed to a mother of boy/girl twins too, and just smirked at the ignorance. I mean, really, some common sense? But a GP? OMG, how embarrassing.

I love (hate) how those mags write a whole double page spread based on one grainy photo, some wild assumptions and some 'anonymous source' which is probably just the tea lady's speculation in print.

Jasmine said...

I've got a draft post about the evils of that particular magazine; I'm only hesitating to post it because I'm not sure people will react kindly to me comparing them to the Third Reich. I wanted to go cut me up some New Idea 'journalists' when they outed Prince Harry being in the Mid East; it's not just about Harry and his safety - it's about the safety of every man and woman he was travelling/working with, and how that magazine might as well have handed insurgents a map with a big red bulls eye and an invitation to tear about fifty families! Rage!!

Maxabella said...

Ha! Take that No Idea!! What a great (and very you) analysis of the current load of dribble that NI is... dribbling. Thanks for the informative run through of twinnette formation. I like your posts about twins a lot.

Andrea said...

I too have been asked the famous question about my B/G twins "Are they identical?" One time by a NICU nurse! Really! Thank goodness she wasn't taking care of my babies!

MandyE (Twin Trials and Triumphs) said...

I just laughed reading your post. We hear all the time about how math scores are down (at least in the US). This just made me think that we might need to pay a little more attention to biology, too!

And I can't BELIEVE a doctor asked if your B/G twins are identical! That's over the top!!!

Hayley said...

I am glad I read this, very informative! I think it's funny that if you were to pick up any rival magazine it would have the same picture/s but a totally different take on the story.

I hope your day is improving and night time is ten folds better then last :)

Nadiah said...

Oh, I love it. Spoken like a true scientist, career-scientist or otherwise. You know what you need? A handbag full of these babies:

You'd do great things with them :-)

life in a pink fibro said...

Am laughing. You know those magazines are 98 per cent fiction, don't you? You must take it with a grain of salt. And you can rewrite the ending any way you like.

Stacia said...

This is how my husband feels when someone tries to write an article on computers or technology or something along those lines. He simply can't bear the inaccuracies. I think you should hire yourself out to magazines as a "twinning fact-checker"! =>

Anonymous said...

Interestingly I read this article too and it irritated me as well. You articulated why far better than I ever could have. Thank you

Jessica Anne said...

I hate those publications. Such drivel and always poorly researched. And I can't stand all the stupidity around twins in general. It's not that hard of a concept,really. It's like middle school biology. My SIL has twins b/c she had IVF (increases the chances of non-identical twins), but her husband's aunt had twins, so they tell everyone it runs in the family. And they actually believe it. Ahh!

sharnee said...

OMG! I LOVE IT!!!!!! I must admit I saw a similar article and couldn't even be bothered reading all the weird twin info they would no doubt suggest so I didn't even bother picking it up! (when I saw the photo on your blog I thought you had TWO sets! GULP!). My boys are about 20 months old - born in Jan 09.
Thanks for introducing me to your blog! ;)

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