Horrible: Baby born with siblings' embryos inside her
Parents and doctors have to be prepared for surprises during childbirth, but sometimes something so bizarre happens that even experienced doctors have to struggle to keep their composure.
This is exactly what happened a few years ago in Hong Kong. A baby girl was born with an extremely distended stomach, which doctors initially thought was due to a tumor. After performing an ultrasound, they operated to remove the mysterious lump. But what they found inside the baby girl was like something from their worst nightmares.
Between her spine and her kidneys, doctors found two large masses of tissue that were obviously not cancerous tumors. Further investigation quickly revealed that the infant had been carrying two embryos, one eight weeks old and one ten weeks old. Both embryos had an umbilical cord, limbs, a spine, brain matter, and intestines. They measured 13.7 and 14.5 inches in length. In a state of near shock, the doctors removed the masses of tissue from the girl's body.
— Ravi J. Shah (@theravishah) 10. Februar 2015
What at first appeared to be a strange kind of pregnancy turned out to be a double case of so-called "fetus in fetu," also known as "fetal inclusion." In these extremely rare cases, several fetuses develop in the womb, but instead of growing into twins — or as in this case, triplets — one of them grows "around" the others and they end up being subsumed by its body.
Fetus in fetu: a condition in which a fetus is born inside a fetus! It's hypothized that the patient absorbs his twin pic.twitter.com/yvjnqV8TDL
— دانة المدالله (@DanahKM) 29. Januar 2015
There have only been a few hundred documented cases of fetal inclusion worldwide. Researchers believe, however, that there are probably cases of the anomaly that go undetected because they don't cause any obvious symptoms — people simply live out their lives never knowing that they have their sibling's embryo inside them.
Yet, in some extreme cases, the sibling's limbs develop much later. In 2012, an eleven-year-old girl in China became famous when a third arm began growing out of her back.
The most well-known case of fetal inclusion came from India. In 1999, 36-year-old Sanju Bhagat underwent surgery on his swollen belly. Doctors were shocked when they removed an almost completely formed human from Sanju's body!
— Diario de Biologia (@diariobiologia) 22. November 2014
Nature is full of amazing wonders both beautiful and strange. At least the they were able to help the little girl and now she can hopefully live a normal life.