A Chinese baby girl was born “pregnant” with the fetuses of twin babies in her abdomen.
It was originally believed that the baby girl had two tumors in her abdomen. It was later discovered that they were fetuses, an abnormality called “fetus in fetu,” reports South China Morning Post.
Fetus in fetu occurs in just one in 500,000 births in the world and less than 200 cases have ever been reported.
The girl underwent surgery at three weeks old to remove the fetuses.
One of the fetuses weighed 14.2 grams, and the other 9.3 grams. Each fetus was connected to a placenta-like mass via an umbilical cord.
The fetuses’ gestation was around 8 to 10 weeks, with each having four limbs, a spine, rib cage, intestines and anus. Both were covered in skin, reports Mirror.
It is believed this is the first documented case of fetus in fetu in Hong Kong, China.
"It was almost impossible to detect during the prenatal check-up, as the embryo inside the baby was too small," said Dr. Yu Lai-man, an obstetrics and gynecology specialist.
“Since it is impossible for the little girl to have conceived the pregnancy on her own, the fertilisation of the twin fetuses, of course, belongs to her parents, which has gone to the wrong place,” Yu said.
News of this medical anomaly was published in the latest issue of the Hong Kong Medical Journal.
The World Health Organization has classified the abnormality as mature teratoma, a type of cancer, but it has been suggested that it may be linked to the mother having multiple abortions. Additional evidence is needed to prove either theory.