An Australian woman gave birth to conjoined twins via caesarean section at the Blacktown hospital in Sydney on Thursday last week.
The babies share a body and internal organs but have two identical faces and separate brains contained in one skull.
Parents of 7 other children, Simon Howie and his partner Renee Young, spoke about the birth of twins Hope and Faith to Woman’s Day. Mr Howie said; “Even though there is only one body, we call them our twins, to us, they are our girls and we love them.”
Despite advice from their doctors to terminate the pregnancy early on, the couple decided to not go through with the termination. Speaking on the Australian TV programme A Current Affair Ms Young said; “If I only get two days with the baby I only get two days. I’ll at least have some time with her.”
The babies have been born with an exceptionally rare condition known as craniofacial duplication or diprosopus. Very little is known about this form of conjoined twins as only 35 such cases have ever been recorded in world history and none of those babies survived — mostly stillborn. Doctors have no idea what to expect for the babies’ future as no other cases have lived past the 2 month mark.
In 2008, a baby girl born in India, Lali Singh, became the most recently known person to have the condition diprosopus. She was born 0n March 10, 2008 in a village near Delhi but died at two months from a heart attack brought on by the baby’s birth defects.
Dr Greg Kesby a maternal foetal specialist spoke to Channel 9; “I think one of the biggest risks to this baby, in terms of surviving, is its ability to breathe on its own. I think there are going to be a lot of challenges afterwards related to the way the brains develop.”
“In fact, some would say it is impossible to get to a good outcome. But people’s definition of good varies and, to them, they want to enjoy the fact that they have a daughter and they want their family of seven others to enjoy it too, “said Kesby to Channel 9.
Six days after their birth the babies are doing exceptionally well. They are stable, breathing on their own, have a strong heart beat and have even had their first bath.
Experts are impressed with their progress but remain cautiously optimistic.
IMAGE: Sydney’s conjoined twins Faith and Hope, born on Thursday, with mum Renee Young. (vis Facebook)