In London, 45-year-old Jenny Kavanagh was shocked when doctors told her that her heavy menstrual cycle was the result of an undeveloped twin growing inside her. Initially, Kavanagh thought the heavy bleeding was because of the contraceptive coil she had placed in her uterus fifteen years ago; however, she was informed it was actually her sister that had been inside her for the past four decades.
The Mirror reports that Kavanagh said, “I try not to think of it too much because I don’t want to feel sad about it. It would have almost certainly killed me if they had not found it and removed it…I try to remember that it had no heart and no brain. The fact that it had long black hair — just like mine — a face, with one eye and one baby tooth makes it more believable. I felt shocked, very scared, horrified, and felt like an alien was inside me.”
She added, “The doctor said it was like an ectopic pregnancy but that the ovary protected it. He said there would have been two embryos and that I was the stronger embryo and enclosed the weaker one. It was a stem cell that didn’t stop growing, and the ovary protected it and stopped it from rupturing. But the bigger it grew, the bigger the chance of a hemorrhage. When I showed the picture to my mum she was really sad – saw it as her unborn child, and my unborn twin.”
Kavanagh already has two children and both of her pregnancies were normal; in fact, she rarely visited the gynecologist because she was so healthy. The twin was found in May and was about ten centimeters in length. The mass wasn’t cancerous but Kavanagh was worried before surgery.
She explained, “I thought the worst. [The doctor] advised me it would have to come out regardless. If it twisted or ruptured it could kill me.” Eleven days later, Kavanagh had the mass removed in a three-hour operation at The Mediterranean Hospital of Cyprus. She concluded, “The whole thing was so surreal I think I needed to see them to get my head around it all.”
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As LifeNews previously reported, in November 2010, a baby girl was born “pregnant” with twins growing inside her in Hong Kong. The deceased unborn babies were between eight and ten weeks gestation, had legs, arms, a spine, rib cage, primitive brain tissue and intestines. According to the Mirror Online, both were covered in skin; and one weighed half an ounce and the other a third of an ounce – and each had an umbilical cord.
The doctors first discovered the rare phenomenon in the baby girl during an ultrasound of the mother. Then, after the girl was born, tests determined the infant had the rare condition fetus-in-fetu. The condition has been reported fewer than 200 times in the world and occurs in an estimated one in 500,000 births.
The infant underwent surgery three weeks after her birth to remove the fetuses. The latest issue of the Hong Kong Medical Journal details the rare medical occurrence and Dr. Yu Kai-man, a specialist in obstetrics and gynecology, said he believes it is the first documented case in the city. He said, “It was almost impossible to detect during the prenatal check-up, as the embryo inside the baby was too small. Since it is impossible for the little girl to have conceived the pregnancy on her own, the fertilization of the twin fetuses, of course, belongs to her parents, which has gone to the wrong place.”
The reason behind the abnormality is largely unknown but the World Health Organization classifies it as a type of cancer called mature teratoma. However, the Hong Kong Medical Journal also suggested that it could be linked to the mother having multiple abortions. Researchers wrote “the theory of demised multiple pregnancy has gained much support recently. More evidence is needed to confirm either theory. The widespread use of antenatal ultrasound in early gestation may provide more concrete evidence … and shed light on this intriguing condition.”