The Australian mom who refused to terminate the pregnancy of her daughters -- even though they shared one body and one head but have two separate faces and brains -- has given birth. Despite sharing one body and all organs, the parents consider them two babies, whom they named Faith and Hope. The babies have so far defied the odds by surviving for nine days, and doctors say if they can live past the five week mark, they stand a good chance of surviving. But for how long?
The babies suffer from craniofacial duplication or diprosopus, a condition so rare that only 35 babies before Faith and Hope have been documented with it.
The parents, Renee Young and Simon Howie, say doctors urged them to terminate the pregnancy, but they refused, despite having seven other children. The mom can't work and has rheumatoid arthritis. Previously, the couple, who are on state benefits, said they would worry about how they would support the babies when the time came.
Renee had originally been hoping for a natural birth, but had to have an emergency Caesarean at 32 weeks.
Doctors were concerned the babies wouldn't be able to breathe on their own, but they are doing that. Experts were brought in to access how best to feed the infants -- but it's unclear if Renee is breastfeeding.
Looking at the girls, I just don't see how it's possible for them to live a life like this. If you look at their eyes, they share an eyelid. How will they have any sort of life?
Most children with this condition are stillborn, but medical advances have overruled what nature would have intended. I'm not so sure that's a great idea.
The girls do look so sweet and adorable, and the parents are smitten with them, which is lovely, but I really fear for their future. Although maybe since this is all they will ever know, it will somehow work for them? My heart really goes out to these girls and their family.
Would you have terminated this pregnancy?
Images via A Current Affair