A mother has spoken about the disbelief she faces over her twin children, who were born with different skin colours.
Judith Nwokocha, 38, gave birth to her twins in 2016: one black baby boy, Kamsi, and a baby girl, Kachi, who has pale white skin due to suffering from albinism.
Nwokocha, a photographer from Calgary, Canada, who is originally from Nigeria, thought she had been given the wrong baby in the hospital.
“I was shocked- I thought they had handed me somebody else’s baby, I didn’t believe she was mine,” she says.
“It never crossed my mind I was going to have an albino baby, we don’t have any in my family, nor my husband’s family.”
However, she now sees a strong resemblance between her and her daughter, Kachi.
“Other than the fact that she is different colour, she looks exactly like me.”
Now Nwokocha, who struggled for eight years to get pregnant until she finally had her twins through IVF, says strangers are often surprised when she is out with her twins.
“Most people don’t believe they’re twins- it’s also the hair texture that confuses them,” she says.
“Someone has asked me: ‘Where are her parents?’. I can see the look of shock in their faces when I tell them I’m her mum.”
However, she says the response to her daughter in the UK is otherwise positive.
“I haven’t had any negative reaction from anyone, they always tell me she is beautiful.
As for raising twins with very different skin tones, Nwokocha explains she needs to take particular care of Kachi’s skin and eyes.
“She can’t do to the sun too long and her skin getting burned,” she says. “[Kachi’s] eyesight is quite sensitive and she needs to see a specialist every 6 months.”
However, Kachi is otherwise “perfectly healthy”.
How is it possible to have black and white twins?
In this case, Kachi has a different skin tone to her twin because she has inherited an albinism condition, whereas her brother Kamsi has not.
Kachi’s skin tone is the result of Oculocutaneous Albinism (OCA) type 2, where people do not produce sufficient melanin (pigment) and this affects their eyes, skin and hair.
The inherited condition – a type of albinism – occurs most commonly in sub-Saharan Africans, African-Americans and Nation Americans.
It affects one in every four children, when parents are both carriers of the Albinism gene.
However, black and white twins are not always the result of inherited albinism.
In 2016, the UK’s first ‘black and white’ twins from the same egg were born in the UK, to mixed race couple Libby Appleby and her partner Tafadzwa Madzimbamuto.
‘Doctors told us the chances of conceiving mixed race twins are one in a million,” said Appleby at the time.