Rare birth of special twins

TREGEAR woman Renee Young has given birth to twin girls born with a rare medical condition called diprosopus.

The girls, named Hope and Faith, share a body, limbs, heart, and a skull, but they each have their own brain and a set of identical facial features.

Ms Young and her partner Simon Howie, parents to seven other children, said the girls were doing well after being born a fortnight ago.

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

"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."

The couple discovered during an ultrasound at 19 weeks into the pregnancy the girls would be born with diprosopus, also known as cranialfacial duplication.

Doctors told them they should terminate the pregnancy as developmental concerns meant the babies might have difficulty breathing once they were born.

But the parents decided to go ahead with the pregnancy and at 32 weeks, Ms Young gave birth by emergency caesarean at Blacktown Hospital.

The twins weighed just over two kilograms and are now in the Children's Hospital at Westmead.

"Even though there is only one body, we call them our twins," Mr Howie told Woman's Day.

"To us, they are our girls and we love them."

There have been only 35 similar cases recorded worldwide and none of those babies survived.

The Sun had hoped to speak to the family, but they have signed a contract to speak only to Woman's Day and A Current Affair.

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