Baby Born “Pregnant” With Twin Brother Inside Him
Doctors were left stunned when they discovered a baby boy in Mumbra, India, was “pregnant” with his own twin brother. During a routine scan of his mother, radiologist Dr. Bhavna Thorat spotted an abnormal mass on the baby. After birth, the newborn was scanned revealing a 7-centimeter growth inside his abdomen, thought to be the baby’s twin, which had been enveloped in the womb.
The growth turned out to be a rare case of “fetus in fetu,” where a fetus becomes enveloped by its own twin. Surgeons removed the 7-centimeter-long fetus from the newborn’s abdomen, and the boy is recovering well. The baby and his mother were moved to Titan Hospital in Thane after surgery.
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This rare condition has been recorded less than 100 times worldwide, happening in only one per 500,000 births. It is thought that the “parasite” twin begins as a normal fetus, sharing a placenta with its sibling. However, early in pregnancy, the host twin envelops the other twin, and the twin that has been enveloped becomes a “parasite” as it uses the host twin’s blood supply to survive.
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In cases of “fetus in fetu,” the “parasite” twin lacks the organs it needs to survive outside of the twin and threatens the life of the host it inhabits, as both twins try to get the nutrition they need from a single umbilical cord. The parasitic twin usually lacks the organs it needs to survive outside the host twin.
The doctors reported seeing a brain within the parasitic fetus in this case, which is a unique characteristic of “fetus in fetu.” Dr. Thorat stated that she “could see bones of the upper and lower limbs of the fetus. The unique thing about it was I could see a tiny head with the brain inside; however, this parasitic twin didn’t have a skull bone.”
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With the mass removed, the surviving twin is doing well and no problems have been reported. This discovery of a “pregnant” baby is truly shocking, and it has shed light on the rare and intriguing medical phenomenon of “fetus in fetu.”