Conjoined twin girls were born via c-section on Thursday in India. The girls share one body, but each has her own head and spine. They do share vital organs, making separation not possible.
The mother, Urmila Sharma, who is 28 years old, did not know she was carrying conjoined twins until an ultrasound was performed two weeks ago. She could not afford an ultrasound earlier in her pregnancy. Dr. Shikha Malik delivered the babies and reports that the hospital staff are doing their best to save the girls. The conjoined twins need an operation that will help to increase the chance of survival, but doctors cannot operate until the babies are in stable condition.
Conjoined twins are very rare, with 1 conjoined birth for every 200,000 live births. Survival of conjoined twins is also rare. 40 to 60 percent of conjoined twins are stillborn. Of those who are born alive, only 35 percent survive the first day. Female conjoined twins do have a higher chance of survival. 70 percent of all conjoined twins are female.
While survival will be difficult for these conjoined twin girls born in India, who have not been named as of yet, there is some hope. Abigail and Brittany Hensel are able to offer some of this hope. They are 23-year-old conjoined twins who live in the United States. The Hensel girls are dicephalic parapagus twins, which means they share a body but they each have their own head. Each girl is able to think, speak, and eat on her own even though they share a body. These girls have graduated from college and plan on being teachers. They live happy and active lives. They also learned how to drive a car, which is a surprising feat considering one girl controls the right side of the body and another controls the left. They had to take their driver’s test twice, once for each of them. They also starred in their own reality series which aired on TLC titled Abby & Brittany.
In 2012 the Hensel twins said that their parents raised them to believe that they could do anything that they wanted to do, and they were never allowed to use being a conjoined twin as an excuse. They do have to compromise their decisions at times. When the twins disagree they take turns getting their way. The girls strive for them to both be happy, so they compromise to find a happy medium that will please both girls.
There are dozens of different types of conjoined twins, but doctors typically break these dozens of types down into different groups depending on how and where the twins are conjoined. Some types of twins may be separated through surgery, but for twins who share vital organs, this is not possible.
These conjoined twin girls born in India are dicephalic parapagus twins, like the Hensel twins. The Hensel twins do offer hope for this case, but the survival of these newborn girls is still uncertain. When, and if, these girls reach a stable condition then doctors will perform a difficult surgery in an attempt to increase the girls’ chance of survival.
By Ashley Campbell