Two Moms Realized Their Daughters Were Switched At Birth, So They Raised Them Together

September 28, 2021

Two women that were accidentally switched at birth have been raised as sisters by both families.

babies mixed up at birth raised as sisters
Caterina Alagna and Melissa Fodera

Caterina Alagna and Melissa Fodera, both 23 years old, are from the same village in Sicily. They were born 15 minutes apart in 1998, but a hospital mix-up caused them to be raised by the wrong mothers.

It wasn't until the girls were three years old that the mistake was discovered.

Mom Marinella Alagna was picking up her daughter Melissa from nursery school when she noticed the striking similarity between one of the other children, Caterina, and her two daughters.


"I recognized Caterina’s mother, Gisella Fodera, from the maternity ward and got suspicious — 15 days later we did DNA tests and my mind went blank. It was too surreal, too impossible," she said.

babies mixed up at birth raised as sisters
Caterina Alagna, left, and Melissa Fodera, right

So, Marinella and Gisella chose to gradually make the switch.

"I challenge anyone to raise a daughter for three years then give her up over a simple mistake," Gisella said.

Melissa and Caterina spent time with both parents. They even went so far as even moving into the same house in a bid to make everyone feel as comfortable as possible.

But experts suggested that the girls spend six months apart with their biological families.

That lasted only three months.

babies mixed up at birth raised as sisters
Marinella, Gisella, Caterina, Melissa

"We two mothers cried on the phone to each other each day and after three months decided we couldn't resist, and we met and promised never to separate," Marinella recalled.

Mauro Caporiccio wrote a book about the sisters called Sisters Forever, which was also recently released as a film by Italy's RAI TV.

"The girls effectively grew up with four parents and eight grandparents, and the experiment worked," he told The Times. "Today they are more like twins than sisters and there is a kind of love which binds the two families."

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