Health

Chinese Baby Born With Parasitic Twin In Her Belly

| by Lisa Fogarty
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Doctors in China reportedly found a parasitic twin inside of the belly of a baby born this week in Changzhou, Jiangsu province. 

The baby was born weighing a little more than six pounds, but had an abnormally large belly, which tipped doctors off to the possibility that something was wrong, Shanghaiist reports. They performed a scan and found what they believed to be a "large tumor" in her stomach that was 16 centimeters in diameter. 

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When the newborn was 8 days old, surgeons performed a two-hour long operation to remove the tumor and realized it was a parasitic twin, which occurs when embryos fail to separate from one another and one stops growing. The twin that was removed even had hair on it.

The abnormality has a name: "fetus in fetu." It reportedly occurs in 1 in every 500,000 births. 

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In February, an otherwise healthy baby girl was born in Hong Kong carrying two masses on the left side of her belly. They were removed and were discovered to be parasitic twins — with spines, umbilical cords, intestines, bones and primitive brain matter, the Washington Post reported. Scientists are still unclear on how a baby absorbs his or her siblings while in utero. 

Sources: Shanghaiist, Washington Post

Photo Credit: Shanghaiist, Marco Assini/Flickr