Babies Switched at Birth became Inseparable by the time Mistake was Discovered

Two Sicilian women who were swapped at birth due to a hospital error were brought up by the wrong mothers for three years. However, by the time the mistake was discovered, they had already become inseparable. 

Children who grow up with loving parents are incredibly fortunate but imagine receiving the affection of more than two parents and grandparents. Caterina Alagna and Melissa Fodera experienced this feeling first-hand in their lives.

The pair were raised by the wrong mothers due to a hospital mix-up occurring in a Sicilian fishing port, Mazara del Vallo, Italy. They were both born only 15 minutes apart on December 31, 1998, and were switched by nurses who were celebrating the New Year.

23-year-old Caterina Alagna and Melissa Fodera grew up as sisters in one big family.

The hospital’s mistake was realized after 3 years when 51-year-old Marinella Alagna went to pick up her daughter Melissa from nursery school and was struck by a young girl Caterina who shared incredible similarities with her two daughters. Marinella also added:

“I recognised Caterina’s mother, Gisella Fodera, from the maternity ward and got suspicious — 15 days later we did DNA tests and my mind went blank.”

The mothers also recalled being slightly suspicious when the nurses had handed over their daughters wrapped in the wrong clothing. However, the hospital staff assured them that only the clothes had been swapped mistakenly and everything was fine.

Following the DNA results, the biological families decided to raise the kids as sisters and even moved into the same house at one point. Instead of harboring bitter feelings, they provided a safe and healthy environment for their children.

Their incredible life story will feature in the book “Sisters Forever” written by Mauro Caporiccio and a documentary created by Italy’s RAI TV. 

According to the recommendation of experts, the kids had to spend at least six months apart so they could acclimate to their new lifestyle. However, the mothers shared that after crying and worrying for three months, they vowed to stay together and never separate.

Marinella even added that she saw Melissa daily, breastfed her, and was there when she learned to say her first words. The families spent a lot of time together and celebrated important occasions, including joint birthdays. Caterina also shared her experience:

“We are a phenomenon. We have eight grandparents, two fathers, and two mothers.”

The pair found out about the swapping incident when they were eight years old and sensible enough to understand what had happened. Melissa shared that she has no memory of her life before the age of 3 and considers Marinella her “second mother.”

The two women were even together in school and have become an inseparable sister duo ever since. They also agreed to keep the names that their second parents had given them.

Their incredible life story will feature in the book “Sisters Forever” written by Mauro Caporiccio and a documentary created by Italy’s RAI TV.

Caporiccio also expressed her views and said that the experiment had successfully worked because the girls effectively grew up as sisters with four parents and eight grandparents.


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