LifeNews has profiled the recent birth of conjoined twins who share one head. Although media reports call them the “baby with two faces” the twins are technically two distinct and different people.
Renee Young and Simon Howie of Sydney said that a routine ultrasound found problems with their baby’s development and that the twins they were expecting were actually conjoined twins with a rare medical condition. The twins has a condition known as diprosopus, or craniofacial duplication, a condition whereby parts or all of the face are duplicated on the head. It is so rare, according to a report on the couple and their babies, that just 35 cases have been recorded in humans and no one is alive today who has it.
The parents of the conjoined twins say they are already showing their different personalities. From the Christian Post:
A set of twin girls, who share a head but have separate faces and brains, are defying the odds and were Christened with the names Hope and Faith by their parents. According to their parents, Hope and Faith already exhibit distinct personalities, and they stand firmly by their decision to welcome the girls into the world instead of having an abortion.
“Faith tends to cry a little more, while Hope takes after her mum and likes to sleep a lot,” Simon Howie said of his baby girls. “Faith blows little bubbles and loves sucking her thumb but Hope prefers the dummy [pacifier],” he told “Woman’s Day” magazine.
The girls are not even two weeks old but have gained an international following after being born by Cesarean section. They are only one in 35 surviving cases of diprosopus, which means that they share a body, heart, limbs and skull but have their own brains and faces.
The couple was originally encouraged to have an abortion when they learned of the condition but were determined to see their girls enter the world and spend as much time with them as possible.
“I try not to listen to what people have to say,” Howie told “Woman’s Day” of the public criticism of their decision. “I have more important things to worry about. Other people’s opinions don’t matter, but it’s sad to hear it. Maybe they are just scared of difference.”
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The baby girls are doing well and breathing on their own, a sign that they are growing stronger and surprising doctors.
“You have to see it to believe it,” mom Renee Young said of the girls’ personalities. “Sometimes Faith will cry and wake Hope up, who then looks sideways as if to say, ‘Thanks for that.’ We are blessed we’ve got this far. I just find them adorable.”
Before birth, three-dimensional scans showed the children have two legs, two arms and one body and all their vital organs, including a strong beating heart. But above the neck, the children have two faces on one skull, an exact duplication of eyes, nose and mouth, and two brains connected with one brain stem.
“It’d be the same as being a child with autism or down syndrome … I don’t believe in terminating the baby if it’s healthy and growing fine, and everything is going to plan,” Mr Howie said. “Renee was the same.”
Howie said doctors disagreed, urging the parents of seven to terminate their unborn children “because it would be looked upon as a freak”.