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One baby with two faces: Australian mother-of-seven gives birth to conjoined twin girls who share a body but have two brains {VIDEO}

Baby with two faces

  • Renee Young welcomed daughters Faith and Hope in Sydney last Thursday
  • Both girls are doing very well despite doctors wanting to terminate
  • Girls were born with the rare condition called diprosopus 
  • They share same body and organs but have separate brains and two faces 

An Australian woman has miraculously given birth to conjoined twins with one body and two heads despite doctors initially telling them to terminate the pregnancy.

Renee Young and her partner Simon Howie, of Tregear in Sydney's west, welcomed their daughters on Thursday six weeks before they were due.

The couple, who found out via an ultrasound that the twins they were expecting was in fact one child with two symmetrical faces and two brains connected by the one brain stem, said doctors were shocked by the girls' exceptional progress.

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Two girls in one body: Renee Young with her daughters Faith and Hope who were born in a Sydney hospital on Thursday

Two girls in one body: Renee Young with her daughters Faith and Hope who were born in a Sydney hospital on Thursday

Faith and Hope were born with a rare condition called diprosopus, which means they share the same body and organs but have separate brains and two faces

Faith and Hope were born with a rare condition called diprosopus, which means they share the same body and organs but have separate brains and two faces

Baby born with rare disorder causing two faces VIDEO below
 

Proud mother: Faith and Hope are now in a stable condition and breathing without support, after initial doubts

Proud mother: Faith and Hope are now in a stable condition and breathing without support, after initial doubts 

'They are breathing perfectly on their own and feeding,' Mr Howie told Woman's Day.

Ms Young gave birth to the girls, named Faith and Hope, via an emergency caesarean at Blacktown Hospital last Thursday.

The girls were born with a rare condition called diprosopus, which means they share the same body and vital organs but have their own faces and brains which are connected by only one brain stem.

'Even though there is only one body, we call them our twins. To us, they are our girls and we love them,' Mr Howie said.  

They were transferred to the Children's Hospital at Westmead shortly after they were born.

'We have no idea how long they will be in hospital. We just want to bring them home, happy and healthy to make our family a little bit bigger and a bit more chaotic,' Mr Howie said.

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Hope and Faith's have their own brains which are connected by only one brain stem

'I think they're beautiful and Simon thinks they're beautiful so really that's all that matters,' their mother said.

'I think they're beautiful and Simon thinks they're beautiful so really that's all that matters,' their mother said.

As the parents of seven other children, Renee and her husband Simon Howie never considered terminating while the girls grew healthy

As the parents of seven other children, Renee and her husband Simon Howie never considered terminating while the girls grew healthy 

The condition is so rare that only 35 cases have ever been recorded and none have survived.

Due to the incredibly complex nature of their condition, doctors are so unsure about what to expect from the twin’s condition that they are being forced to make their prognoses day by day. 

Mr Howie confirmed that specialists are being called in to decipher a range of problems and assess the twins in great depth, from the functioning of their lungs and blood vessels to decisions about how best to proceed with feeding. 

But despite all the forewarned medial problems likely to come their way, Ms Young and Mr Howie are just happy their girls are alive and well. 

'I think they're beautiful and Simon thinks they're beautiful so really that's all that matters,' Ms Young told A Current Affair.

Mr Howie said: '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: 'I sort of don't believe in terminating the baby if it's healthy and growing fine and everything is going to plan'

Their mother Renee gave birth to the girls via an emergency caesarean at Blacktown Hospital last Thursday

Their mother Renee gave birth to the girls via an emergency caesarean at Blacktown Hospital last Thursday

Their condition is so rare that only 35 cases have ever been recorded and none have survived

Their condition is so rare that only 35 cases have ever been recorded and none have survived

From as early as 28 weeks into Ms Young’s pregnancy, specialists were concerned about grave developmental issues.

One of the biggest predicted survival risks from their doctor Greg Kesby, was that the babies would be unable to breathe on their own.

The couple, who are parents to seven other children, were also told early on in the pregnancy not to keep the child ‘because it would be looked upon by the public as a freak’.

They defied the doctors because Ms Young had never terminated a pregnancy and because they had a family 'that gives us a lot of support'.

At first, things certainly looked to be taking a turn for the worst as Ms Young unexpectedly went into labour at only 32 weeks last Thursday, and was forced to have an emergency caesarean.

The couple refused to terminate their unborn twins despite being warned by doctors of the medical and social problems the girls were likely to suffer

The couple refused to terminate their unborn twins despite being warned by doctors of the medical and social problems the girls were likely to suffer

Channel 9 were given the honour of choosing the middle names of the newborns, picking Daisy for Faith and Alice for Hope

Channel 9 were given the honour of choosing the middle names of the newborns, picking Daisy for Faith and Alice for Hope

The twin girls were not breathing in the first few moments after their birth, leaving their parents in a state of great anxiety

The twin girls were not breathing in the first few moments after their birth, leaving their parents in a state of great anxiety

But despite problems from the first moments of their birth, in which Faith and Hope were not heard to be breathing despite having a clear singular heartbeat, the girls have now defied all odds and are currently in a stable state and breathing without any assistance.

Although the couple were aware from the early stages of pregnancy that their children would have great developmental problems, they explained that while the girls continued to grow healthily, they couldn’t come to terms with letting their unborn twins go. 

'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.

The proud parents of the small survivors have braced themselves for a difficult path ahead and refuse to say goodbye prematurely.

'I would say, if I only get two days with the baby, I only get two days with the baby - at least I have some time with it,' Ms Young said.

The conjoined twins share all their major organs apart from their brains

The conjoined twins share all their major organs apart from their brains

It was at 19 weeks into her pregnancy that My Young became aware that her unborn babies were conjoined

It was at 19 weeks into her pregnancy that My Young became aware that her unborn babies were conjoined

DIPROSOPUS CONDITION MEDICAL FACTS

  • The rare condition diprosopus is also known as craniofacial duplication.
  • Diprosopus refers to a baby born with a single torso, normal limbs and facial features, which are duplicated to a degree.
  • In mild instances the baby may have a duplicated nose and the eyes may be spaced far apart. But in extreme cases the entire face can be replicated, hence the name diprosopus - Greek for two-faced.
  • Most babies born with diprosopus are stillborn, and there are fewer than 50 cases documented since 1864.
  • Where a baby is born with two complete identical faces, the condition is considered a rare variant of conjoined twinning.
  • But while conjoined twinning is the result of an incomplete separation of two embryos, diprosopus is caused by abnormal activity of the protein Sonic Hedgehog (SHH).
  • The protein is responsible for signalling craniofacial patterning during embroyonic development, and among other things governs the width of facial features.
  • Where the protein is found in excess, a baby will have wider facial features, and in extreme cases it can cause the duplication of those features.
  • Diprosopus can be deteched via ultrasound in pregnancy, or via CT scanning.
  • One of the first indications of the condition is the detection of abnormally high amount of amniotic fluid present within the amniotoc sac.
  • There is currently no treatment to cure the condition and because of its rarity few treatment options or corrective surgery techniques exist.

 

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Comment by Lisa on May 26, 2014 at 10:27am
Wow they HAPPPY n be happy for them
Comment by MsFlame on May 14, 2014 at 3:51pm
Poor dears... G-d had a reason for these girls to have been born. If only to teach a little kindness and understanding to others. Conjoined twins can survive. It's happened before.
Comment by Jessy on May 13, 2014 at 5:29pm

I would have listen to the doctors and have the baby aborted if I was in that mother's shoes.  If my children ever came out born Siamese twins, I will insist for the doctors to separate them, even if it means one of them or both of them have to die.  I know I wouldn't want to live in this world if I was born with two faces, nor would I want to live in this world if I was born stuck to someone else.  That's just my opinion.

Comment by Kat Jo on May 13, 2014 at 2:59pm

This must be difficult as a parent but, now the parents needs to think about these children and what's best for them.

Comment by Nell T. on May 13, 2014 at 1:39pm

This is what type of deformities we will been seeing in the decades to come, all from radiation poisoning. We are so fix on having everything fast and the best of, that we just do it without thinking. Cell phone radiation, microwave radiation, ipad radiation, ipod radiation, computer radiation, X-ray radiation, etc.

Comment by Bombahdrop on May 13, 2014 at 12:49pm
I'm far from heartless and I most definitely won't be quiet. I Dont care who Dont like my point of view. Two words, Man And Beast.
Comment by Miriam Carona on May 13, 2014 at 11:01am
Good bless them and I pray to god that these babies prove them wrong and out live there believe God please take care of ur baby because the parents u have giving them love them bless yous
Comment by Mary Wilson on May 13, 2014 at 5:56am

God bless this special baby and her parents, the love they have for her shows in their eyes....In my opinion, God has a plan for this little angel and it matters not if we understand what it is...

Comment by Cee Gee on May 13, 2014 at 5:44am

OMG...not sure how I would have reacted if I gave birth to twins like that.  I thank the Most High that my twin and I were born separate.

Comment by rastafari on May 13, 2014 at 5:27am

For those who would call the infant/s a beast/s, let's not forget that there are only two life forms on planet earth--plant and animal--human beings are creatures...congrats to the mother for not aborting the life of her diprosopus twins however abnormal their appearance or feature maybe...such is life... 

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