A viral story claiming that a married couple discovered that they were biological twins after trying to conceive via IVF has been found to be a hoax.
Various online publications, including the Inquisitr, ran the story yesterday. However, it wasn’t long before doubts about the authenticity of the report led many, including Snopes, to take a closer look.
The story about the married twins and their life-changing discovery came from a single source: an article published on the Mississippi Herald website on April 13. Metro.co.uk, which also published an article about the bogus story, notes that the original article had no byline and cited only anonymous sources. It didn’t mention the name of the clinic where the married biological twins supposedly sought IVF treatment.
The original article claimed that the twins could not be named because of patient confidentiality restrictions and that the doctor’s identity must be similarly hidden to protect the patients.
The Mississippi Herald, which has now been identified as a fake news site, seems to have been designed to mirror the Mississippi Sun-Herald, an actual Biloxi newspaper that has been in circulation since 1884.
— LADbible (@ladbible) April 15, 2017
Mirror Online found that the domain www.mississippiherald.com was only registered on Nov. 2 last year and that the Mississippi Herald website contains no contact information — no brick-and-mortar address, e-mail address, or phone number — for the publication or for any of its employees.
Mirror Online reached out to the Mississippi Sun-Herald to confirm the story. The Sun-Herald’s night editor, Kim Anderson, said that there is no Mississippi Herald.
“Our web editor is aware of this story and the Mississippi Herald appears to be the only source of this news,” Anderson said.
“We suspect it’s a fake news story.”
Snopes points out that the story about the married twins is almost identical word-for-word to another story published by the Denver Inquirer in December 2016. It appears that the Mississippi Herald, the Denver Inquirer, and another bogus news site, the Florida Sun Post, are associated fake news sites designed to spread fabricated stories to generate page views.
Couple Finds Out They Are Biological Twins During IVF Treatment? https://t.co/I2qcNsilt5
— snopes.com (@snopes) April 16, 2017
On April 14, the Mississippi Herald ran an outrageous story about a Florida man who was supposedly caught having sexual intercourse with a horse at a Mississippi ranch. Like the report about the married twins, this story cited anonymous sources, claiming that the man who was allegedly found engaging in intercourse with a horse asked that his name not be published. This article, as does the one on the married twins, links to a story on the Florida Sun Post website about a man in Nassau County who supposedly cut off his genitals and fed them to an alligator.
The fictitious story about the married couple and their life-altering discovery quickly went viral this week, with readers expressing sympathy for the made-up couple and outrage over a broken system that purportedly ruined their lives.
This married couple just found out they're actually biological twins https://t.co/j9lbO5spVc
— The Independent (@Independent) April 15, 2017
The report spins a yarn about a husband and wife who were separated and given up for adoption at a young age. Neither of their adoptive families had been informed that they were twins due to a “filing error.” They met and became a couple in college, and friends had reportedly always remarked on their striking resemblance and on their shared birthday.
Struggling to conceive, the two visited an IVF clinic in Jackson, Mississippi, where a lab assistant supposedly noticed that their DNA profiles were remarkably similar.
According to the doctor who was “interviewed” for the report, the couple burst out laughing when he broke the news. They initially thought that the whole thing was a joke.
[Featured Image by Carl Court/Getty Images]