‘Very, very rare’ conjoined twins delivered in India

Published: March 14, 2014

Conjoined twins born in Sonepat, India. Hindustan Times.

HINDUSTAN TIMES

A pair of conjoined twins with two heads and a shared lower body was born in northern India on Thursday.

According to Dr Shikha Malik, a gynaecologist at the Haryana nursing home where the babies were born, this is “a very, very rare” case of conjoined twins – the medical term being thoracophagus, where two bodies are fused from the upper thorax to lower belly.

Thoracopagus twins share a heart, which, depending on how closely they are joined, makes it nearly impossible to separate them and save both the lives.  Malik hopes to operate once the baby’s condition becomes more stable.

According to Malik, the conjoined twins were only spotted on February 24, when the pregnant woman underwent her first ultrasound.

Media reports say the mother claims she couldn’t afford ultrasounds throughout her pregnancy, but she’s delivered previously delivered two healthy babies.

Conjoined twins born in Sonepat, India. Hindustan Times.

Birth of conjoined twins, where the skin and internal organs are fused together, is rare. Conjoined twins are born once every 200,000 live births, and their survival rate is between 5 and 25 per cent.

For unknown reasons, female siblings seem to have a better shot at survival than their male counterparts.

Although more male twins conjoin in the womb than female twins, females are three times as likely as males to be born alive. Approximately 70 per cent of all conjoined twins are girls, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.

There are nearly a dozen different types of conjoined twins.

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