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. 

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. 

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