Baby born with two faces, one body

Australian couple Renee Young and Simon Howie of Tregear NSW have made history after Renee gave birth to conjoined twins that share one body and two faces.

The girls, named Faith and Hope, were born at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Randwick NSW on May 8, 2014 as reported by Channel 9’s A Current Affair. Being from Tregear, Renee Young was first rushed to Blacktown Hospital, then brought to Westmead Children’s Hospital but later on transferred to Randwick where she gave birth.

The girls were born with a rare disorder known as diprosopus, where the embryo fails to split in the early stages of pregnancy. The disorder means the babies are born with two brains and one body and two faces on one skull. Diprosopus is so rare that only 35 cases have ever been recorded.

Doctors then explained to the couple, who already have seven children, the severity of their unborn twins’ condition. “There was a conjointment in the vaults of the skull which pretty much said it was a conjoined twin,” Mr Howie said.

“The faces were actually duplicated along with everything else, but their brain was normal. Each has her own brain, two arms, two legs, the one body and the one heartbeat.”

Despite the long-term risks and difficulties associated with the genetic disorder, the couple said terminating the pregnancy was never an option.

“We sort of looked at it as, it’d be the same as being a child with autism or down syndrome, I sort of don’t believe in terminating the baby if it’s healthy and growing fine and everything is going to plan,” Mr Howie said.

Parent’s heroic attitude

With a zero percent survival rate for the 35 other documented cases of diprosopus, Ms Young and Mr Howie said they are prepared for the challenges that lie ahead.

Maternal foetal specialist Dr Greg Kesby warned the couple that even simple tasks will prove difficult for the twins.

“I think one of the biggest risks to this baby, in terms of surviving, is its ability to breathe on its own,” Dr Kesby said.

“There’s going to be a lot of challenges related to the way the brains developed. And that’s going to pose you a lot of problems.”

Despite the dire prediction, the couple is staying positive. “With little luck, a little bit of faith and a bit of hope, hopefully we’ll come out the other side,” Mr Howie said.

“As long as they’re fighters and they keep fighting, everything will be ok, hopefully.”  (Source: A Current Affair)

Updated: 2014-06-01 — 17:53:09