An Australian woman has given birth to a rare pair of conjoined twins that share a single body but have two separate faces.
The rare condition known as “disrosopus” occurs when two conjoined twins share the same heart, body, limbs, and skull but have separate brains and faces. Renee Young of Sydney gave birth to her conjoined twins Hope and Faith, and her husband Steve Howie says that even though they share a body, they still see them as two different babies.
“Even though there is only one body, we call them our twins,” said Howie to Woman’s Day. “To us, they are our girls and we love them.”
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19 weeks into the pregnancy, the couple found out that their girls would be born with disrosopus, and although doctors suggested they terminate the pregnancy, Young and Howie decided to stick with it.
“We sort of looked at it as; it'd be the same as being a child with autism or Down syndrome,” said Howie. “I sort of don't believe in terminating the baby if it's healthy and growing fine and everything is going to plan.”
Hope and Faith were born at 32 weeks and are already said to be improving.
“They are breathing perfectly on their own and feeding,” said Howie. “They even had their first bath last night. We have no idea how long they will be in hospital. We just want to bring them home, happy and healthy to make our family a little bit bigger and a bit more chaotic.”
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According to reports, disrosopus is so rare that there are only 35 recorded cases, none of which showed survival past infancy. Still, Young and Howie say they are grateful for any time they get to spend with their girls.
“I would say, if I only get two days with the baby, I only get two days with the baby - at least I have some time with it,” said Young.
Doctors say that the twin girls have defied all odds and are currently in stable condition, breathing on their own.