A black mother-of-three who gave birth to a pale-skinned red-headed child with piercing blue eyes has been left baffled.
Patience Chando, 36, who is of Zimbabwean heritage, and her white German partner Andreas Spillea, 49, welcomed four-month old baby Andrea Mariella into the world in April.
But now she can’t take her daughter out in public without being stopped – but not just because of how
adorable she is.
The former office worker thought her daughter’s creamy complexion would darken since her other daughters – 15-year-old Faith and 17-year-old Lucricia – inherited her skin tone.
But instead, the mum-of-three said Andrea’s blue eyes, striking auburn hair and milky skin is turning heads wherever they go in their hometown of Hanover, Germany.
Patience said: ‘I couldn’t believe it. Her skin was too white when she was born, I was sure it would tone down, which happens sometimes, but it hasn’t.
‘It wasn’t until a few days after she was born I started to think: ‘Hold on, her skin was white. I’m her biological mother and I’m black’.
‘Every time we go out I get questioned or stopped for photographs. I’m running out of things to say to people. She’s the centre of attraction.’
Doctors are equally stunned, raising concerns Andrea might have a skin disorder when she took her in for a routine check-up.
Patience added: ‘My doctor was totally surprised. He even tested her for a skin disorder out of concern for how pale she was.
‘My friends keep joking that a mother is out there looking for their baby, and one day they will find us.’
Patience, who conceived the Faith and Lucricia with her black former partner, moved to Hanover after meeting new partner Andreas in Zimbabwe.
She traced her ancestry but said there was no white heritage in her family.
However, geneticists have suggested this could be what lays behind the striking contrast to her daughter’s skin tone.
Dr Bryce Mendelsohn, a medical geneticist at the University of California, said: ‘People of African descent have traces of European in their ancestry, especially from populations with many geographic origins, so that could be the case here.
‘The child is distinctly lighter than her mother, but of course there is another parent to consider. Children often resemble one parent more than the other.
‘When we pass on our genes to our kids they can be skewed either way, it’s what makes us unique.’
Martin Delatycki, clinical director of the Victorian Clinical Genetics Services in Australia said: ‘If someone with dark skin procreates with someone of light skin, the child’s skin colour will generally fall somewhere between them on the spectrum.
‘There is not one gene for skin colour, and there are many complex genetic influences and subtle change that can impact the outcome.’
‘If two dark-skinned people conceive a light skinned child, this would usually be due to a form of albinism, but this does not appear to be the case here judging by the child’s hair and eye colour.’