18 Year Old Mother Gives Birth To Conjoined Twins, London

27 Nov 2008

Laura WIllams, 18, has given birth to Faith and Hope, two conjoined twins. They were born at University College Hospital, London, and have been transferred to Great Ormond Street children's hospital. The babies were delivered yesterday morning by C-section.

Doctors had advised Laura and husband Aled to abort the fetuses - however, they decided to go through with the pregnancy.

The twins have separate hearts and are joined from the navel to the breastbone. As the babies are joined at the front, doctors are hopeful that they 1) will survive, and 2) can be successfully separated. Generally, 75% of conjoined twins do not survive beyond 24 hours.

It is unclear how many other organs each baby has separately.

What Are Conjoined Twins?

There are 2 kinds of twins:

-- Fraternal Twins and
-- Identical Twins

-- Fraternal Twins come from two separate eggs (dizygotic).
-- Identical Twins come from the same single egg (monozygotic), the developing embryo divides into two.

-- Identical Twins look very much like each other
-- Fraternal Twins are as similar to each other as normal siblings are.

(Monozygotic = They result from the fertilization of one egg by one sperm. Dizygotic = They are the result of two eggs that are fertilized by two sperm)

-- Fraternal Twins can be the same sex or different sexes.
-- Identical Twins are the same gender.

Conjoined Twins are Identical Twins, but when the embryo starts to split, on the 13th day after conception, it does not do so completely - parts of the two stay stuck together. The two embryos mature into two fetuses that have parts of their bodies stuck to each other.

For some reason, more conjoined twins are girls than boys. For every pair of male conjoined twins born, three pairs of female conjoined twins are born. This is puzzling, because male identical twins are more common than female identical twins.

About 1 in every 40,000 to 70,000 births are conjoined twins. Only 1 in every 200,000 live births are conjoined twins.

40% of conjoined twins are stillborn, 75% are either stillborn or do not survive beyond their first 24 hours of life.

For Your Ready Reference:Facts About Conjoined Twins

Conjoined Twins Facts

Watch Videos

YouTube - Conjoined Twins - Abby, and Brittany Hensel