An Australian couple got the shock of a lifetime when a routine ultrasound revealed that they had one baby -- but the baby had two faces and two brains. The baby is totally normal below the neck, but then has a duplicate set of eyes, nose, and mouth, and two brains connected by a stem. The condition is called craniofacial duplication or diprosopus, and it is so rare there have only been 35 known cases in the world.
The parents do not intend to terminate the pregnancy. They want to have their daughters -- for they consider that there are two babies -- even though they already have seven children and the mom, Renee Young, has rheumatoid arthritis.
Said the father, Simon Howie:
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.
Wow, this is healthy and growing fine and everything going to plan? I guess some people have a different definition of that than others!
Doctors have disagreed and urged the couple to terminate the pregnancy, saying the child will "be looked upon as a freak." But as the mom says: "Everything happens for a reason."
Abortion laws in Australia vary state by state, and the mother told Inside Edition that, at 15 weeks, she was already too far along to terminate the pregnancy. However, it's a little confusing, since she also states that the doctors kept advising her to terminate the pregnancy. At any rate, they say they never considered it.
A doctor told NineMSN that this type of disorder was one of the rarest forms and that it would be incredibly costly to treat. The couple and their children already reportedly live in social housing and rely on disability income. They say they have no idea how they will afford the child's care but will worry about it later.
There is a very good chance, however, that the child won't survive its birth, or live very long afterwards. The last known case, a girl in India named Lali, died after two months.
The parents consider that there are two babies, since there are two brains, but when asked if there would be two names, Simon hesitated and replied, "That's going to be a hard one."
That's the least of it. I can't imagine what this child(ren)'s life will be like. Two functioning brains that might think totally separate things, sharing one body?! It boggles the mind the amount of confusion that could create.
Oh, and mom is planning a natural birth. Two heads, one birth canal. She is a brave woman for that alone.
Best of luck to this family!
What would you do?
Image via gbonger3/YouTube