A 9-pound baby girl, born in Hong Kong, was born with an abnormal growth upon her left side, leading medical professionals to investigate cause. After an investigation, the doctors were shocked to learn that the baby girl was born pregnant with twins, a condition called fetus-in-fetu. The rare condition has only been documented 200 times and occurs when a fetus absorbs the partially developed fetuses into its own. Each of the fetuses were removed and found to be in a further state of development than doctors could imagine.
According to WGN TV News, the last reported instance of fetus-in-fetu was reported in November of 2010 at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. When doctors removed the pair of fetuses from the newborn baby girl, it was discovered that each had developed to a gestation period of eight to ten weeks. Both of the fetuses had their arms and legs, a defined spine, their rib cages, as well as intestines and anuses. Doctors removed the fetuses three weeks after the baby’s birth.
Each of the fetuses did contain a brain, although the brain matter was considered primitive in nature. The host baby seemingly absorbed its twins where they continued to develop until about ten weeks, when they stopped. It us unknown when the two fetuses actually became absorbed, or what conditions caused the absorption, but researchers are interested in knowing more about the case.
Some physicians believe the twin fetuses are no more than a teratoma, or tumor, that contained different types of tissues. However, the condition would still be considered rare because it normally occurs when a woman reaches the reproductive age, reported ABC News.
If the growths would have been discovered within the first five weeks of gestation, the conditions and circumstances leading to the fetus-in-fetu may have been more clearly defined. However, researchers may never know for sure, according to Dr. Jane Corteville, and OB/GYN at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio.
“I think we see these on occasion and they’re bizarre. And I think they do give us kind of some insight maybe — but not very much — into what happens during early development.”
The baby girl that was born pregnant with the twins is reported to be recovering without worry of further complications. She is expected to live a normal life despite the abnormal birth.
[Photo courtesy of Medical Daily]