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British mum is expecting ‘Siamese twins’

Posted by feww on January 13, 2009

“Gift from God” Or “Curse of the Devil?” What is wrong with adoption, if  you have polycystic ovaries?

Woman is expecting twins with one body

Ellen Widdup [London’s Evening Standard]

A WOMAN pregnant with ‘Siamese twins,’ conjoined twins with two heads on one body, has spoken of her decision to keep them.

Lisa Chamberlain was told she was expecting the rare dicephalous twins during an emergency hospital scan after she started to suffer mysterious back pains nine weeks into her pregnancy.

Abigail and Brittany. Image may be subject to copyright. Abigail “Abby” Loraine Hensel and Brittany “Britty” Lee Hensel (born March 7, 1990, Carver County, Minnesota, United States), are highly symmetric dicephalic parapagus conjoined twins, and further, tribrachius, bipedus. They have two spines and separate half-sacrums, which converge distally within a slightly broad pelvis. They each control and sense their corresponding arm and leg; a third, rudimentary central arm was amputated in infancy. [Wikipedia]

How could any parent be so selfish?

Doctors, who could only find one heartbeat, urged the 25-year-old and her fiancé Mike Pedace to consider an abortion and warned them that the babies had a 20 per cent chance of survival but they refused to terminate the pregnancy, which followed years of trying for a child. Today, the mother-to-be, from Portsmouth, who was 18 when she was diagnosed with polycystic ovaries, a condition which can affect fertility, said the twins were “a gift from God”.

“Some might think my twins are strange, but to me they’re just special,” she said. “Everything happens for a reason. Mike and I have spent over seven years trying to have children and we might not get another go.”

What about their ability to grow normally, marry someone they love and have children of their own?

The twins are likely to be born at London’s University College Hospital, which has a team of obstetric consultants who specialise in complicated births. Siamese twins Faith and Hope Williams, who died last month after surgery to separate them, were born at the hospital.

If Miss Chamberlain’s babies survive the birth, they will make British medical history as the country’s only living dicephalous twins.

“Gift from God” Or “Curse of the Devil?”How would you know the difference?

The former RSPCA worker said: “Over the years I’ve been for so many tests and check-ups I’d virtually given up hope. I feel blessed. To me, my twins are a gift from God and we’re determined to give them their chance of life.”

Why put so many people through so much misery?

Doctors at Portsmouth’s St Mary’s Hospital, where Miss Chamberlain had her scan, have told the couple that the twins may not survive the pregnancy.

Is inflicting extreme pain a part of Roman Catholic upbringing?

But Miss Chamberlain and Mr Pedace, 32, a Roman Catholic, hope their babies will follow the example of 18-year-old American dicephalous twins Abigail and Brittany Hensel, who share a body but lead a full life.

“The fact Abigail and Brittany in America live a full and happy life fills me with hope for my babies,” said Miss Chamberlain. “I’ve even given the twins names – Layla and Kelsey – because I think they’re going to be little girls. I’ve been told that 75 per cent of Siamese twins are.”

These two were NOT!

The world’s oldest conjoined twins. Born in 1951, Ronnie, left, and Donnie share a home in Dayton, Ohio. While their “normal” brother, Jim married a woman, Ronnie and Donnie probably never could. In their case, their mother,
Maureen Galyon,  “had no idea she was expecting two babies – let alone conjoined twins.” Image source: UK tabloid Sun. Image may be subject to copyright.

This is all about “us” having our own kids—whatever the cost!

Mr Pedace, who has been with Miss Chamberlain for eight years, said: “We know it’s going to be very tough but we’re prepared for that as much as we can be. We’ve struggled for so long for the chance to have children. Now we’ve got that chance, we’re not going to throw it away.”

An artist’s impression of Lisa Chamberlain’s embryo. Source UK tabloid Sun. Image may be subject to copyright.

Miss Chamberlain will have to wait until her 20-week scan to find out how many organs her conjoined twins share. © 2009 Associated Newspapers Limited

What do experts say?

  • Doctors at Portsmouth’s St Mary’s Hospital advised the couple to abort the twins.
  • Professor Lewis Spitz, Britain’s foremost expert on Siamese births,  has also advised the couple that the twins should be terminated.

Why don’t the couple heed the expert advice?

Lisa Chamberlain is apparently obsessed with her own genes [hormones,] and her fiancé [unmarried Catholics?], Mike Pedace, is reportedly a staunch Catholic.

As for the discredited teachings of Catholic Church, aren’t so many orphans in your jaundiced world gifts from “God?”

Facts about Conjoined Twins:

  • They are NOT “gift(s) from God” or “curse of the Devil.”
  • The frequency of conjoined twins is about 1 in 100,000 consecutive births.  For a detailed analysis see Note 1.
  • Some 40 – 60 percent of the conjoined twins are stillborn.
  • Another 35 percent survive for a day. [About 75 percent of all conjoined twins die within 24 hours of birth. ]

No matter how far the medical sciences advance, human mindset seems to be mired in the Dark Ages.

1. Epidemiological and clinical analysis of a consecutive series of conjoined twins in Spain – Journal of Pediatric Surgery, Volume 44, Issue 4, Pages 811-820
M. Martínez-Frías, et al.

Related Links:

Possibly Related Links:

This post was updated with new materials added.

16 Responses to “British mum is expecting ‘Siamese twins’”

  1. CH said

    [Thank you! Moderator]

  2. Anonymous said

  3. feww said

    Gaza conjoined twins have died, Saudi Arabia says
    “The conjoined Palestinian twins who made the long, difficult journey out of the blockaded Gaza Strip for treatment in Saudi Arabia died Saturday, the Saudi health minister said.” AP reported.

  4. Granna23 said

    OK, has anyone asked Abby and Brittany if they would have preferred to have been aborted? Many people posting here are being very judgemental toward the mom(s), citing selfishness to bring such children into the world. I work with severely handicapped adults and none of them are upset that they were born. Actually, they are sweetly happy and easy to love.

    The prejudices shown here toward the imperfect are apalling. Where is the tolerance??

  5. Kendrix said

    [Your point of view is noted. Please send a shorter comment to be included. Moderator]

  6. […] Abigail… (born March 7, 1990, Carver County, Minnesota, United States) …This Post […]

  7. msrb said

    Bangladeshi mother tells newspaper formerly conjoined twins should grow up in Australia

    By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS (CP) – 7 hours ago

    MELBOURNE, Australia — The mother of recently separated conjoined Bangladeshi twins does not want custody of the daughters she gave up for adoption and wants them to have new lives in Australia, newspapers reported Saturday.

    The twins, who turn 3 next months old, had been joined at the top of their heads and shared brain tissue and blood vessels. They were separated Tuesday after 25 hours of delicate surgery in a Melbourne hospital and then underwent an additional six hours of reconstructive work.

    The charity that brought Trishna and Krishna from a Dhaka orphanage to Australia two years ago for the surgery, Children First Foundation, will continue to provide care and support for the twins in Australia for at least the next two years, chief executive Margaret Smith said on Friday.

    News Corp.-owned Australian newspapers on Saturday published an English translation of an interview with the 23-year-old mother, Lavlee Mollik. She said she and her husband, Kartik Mollik, were praying for their daughters’ quick recovery.

    “We don’t want to get them back because we don’t have the ability to take proper care of them,” she told the Bangladesh newspaper Daily Shamokal.

    But she said she missed them daily and hoped to visit them one day. “It will be the most happy day of my life if I can see them again,” she said.

    “I want them to live in Australia and be educated in Australia and one day when they have become very respected people, I want them to call me ‘mother,”‘ she said.

    The mother, who gave the twins up for adoption after giving birth by cesarean section, said she had followed their progress through the media.

    The Associated Press on Saturday was unable to immediately contact the parents, who live in the Jessore district of southwestern Bangladesh.

    Trishna awoke from a medically induced coma Thursday and was talking and behaving normally.

    In a statement Friday, officials at Royal Children’s Hospital said Krishna was still slowly being brought out of her coma.

    “She is more alert, starting to breathe more and opening her eyes,” the statement said.

    Krishna is expected to have a longer period of adjustment as the separation brought more changes to her body and brain’s blood circulation. Both girls were in serious but stable condition Friday.

    Wirginia Maixner, the hospital’s director of neurosurgery, said there may be minor changes to the girls from where their brains were separated but that overall the brains looked good. MRI scans Wednesday showed no signs of brain injury.

    Doctors had earlier said there was a 50-50 chance that one of the girls could suffer brain damage from the complicated separation.

    An aid worker first saw Trishna and Krishna in the orphanage when they were a month old, and contacted the Children First Foundation.

    Smith said it was too early to say whether the girls’ legal guardian, Children First Foundation founder Moira Kelly, would adopt them.

    “I think she’d like to do that, but that’s something we can’t make a decision on at the moment,” Smith said.

    The foundation raised almost 250,000 Australian dollars ($229,000) for the cost of caring for the twins in between numerous earlier surgeries to separate blood vessels connecting their brains. A mystery benefactor funded all hospital costs, Smith said.

    Copyright © 2009 The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.

  8. Elisa said

    I must say, in defence of the medical community, that in cases like this abortion is not suggested because the doctors (or the parents for that matter) just feel that the life of the unborn infant is “not worth the trouble”. It is for the sake of the child, with the prospect of a difficult life, that abortion is made an option. Especially in this case, where there is a reasonable chance that the babies will both die, the doctor is OBLIGATED to inform the parents of this and suggest abortion. This is also a choice that must be respected, because not many of us here can imagine what it must be like to be in the parents’ place. I must admit I find it wrong to accuse people of “murder” in case of abortion. I am also a christian, but I don’t believe in a God who will frown upon my choice to terminate my pregnancy because I don’t want my child to suffer. I don’t believe in a God who will be disappointed when I make such a choice, because He will know why I did it.
    I am also a medical student, and I don’t understand why so many people feel that medical men/women don’t care for human lives. Why else would one choose such a profession? Doctors are bound primarily to a “certain oath”, of which everybody has probably already heard. And furthermore, they are bound to ethical rules, which is the proof that abortion has already been a subject of much discussion.

  9. Dan said

    How can you be so cold and heartless? I thought Pro-Choice was exactly that- about CHOICE.

    Apparently the far-right loons are actually right. You people are just pro-abortion, not simply supportive of a mother’s right to CHOOSE. Choice goes both ways, pal.

    • feww said

      Pro-CHOICE? The mother’s right to CHOOSE? You mean purely animalistic, hormone-driven urge of a woman to have babies at any cost and regardless of the welfare of those babies.

      What has CHOICE got to do with it? What about the CHOICE of the severely handicapped babies?

      How could anyone be so “cold and heartless” to knowingly condemn “two” people to a life of mental torture, physical pain and discomfort?

      • SaveSomething said

        How could anyone be so cruel and heartless as to MURDER an innocent baby (or two, in this case) and not even give them the chance at life?

        LIFE liberty and the pursuit of happiness, the Constitution, my dear.

        • feww said

          Your “logic” chain has a few links missing (!) How about Abe Lincoln, strawberries, champagne and cigars, we won the cold war.

          If you want to know what’s good for the innocent babies try asking the large majority who don’t make it and die in pain.

  10. […] British mum is expecting … […]

  11. feww said

    UPDATE – Lisa Chamberlain Conjoined Twins
    Agony of Siamese twin mum as babies die – 26/07/2009

    Tragic mother Lisa Chamberlain was in mourning last night for her Siamese twin babies who died moments after they were born.

    Lisa, 26, and fiancé Mike Pedace, 32, hoped to defy eight million-to-one odds that conjoined twins Jayden and Joshua would live after being delivered by caesarean section last Wednesday.

    But Joshua was stillborn and Jayden died 30 minutes later. They were joined at the chest facing each other and had fused hearts and a single liver.

    The Sunday Mirror revealed last week that Lisa, of Portsmouth, had fought for eight years to get pregnant – and refused to have a termination.

    Last night she was recovering from surgery with Mike at her bedside. Copyright: The Daily Mirror UK

    Other Conjoined Twins
    JAKARTA, Indonesia (CNN) — An Indonesian mother has given birth to conjoined twins who share the same body and all their vital parts — except their heart and their heads.

    The boys were delivered in the Riau province via cesarean section Thursday. They were taken to another hospital, where they were in critical condition over the weekend.

    “This is final. They can’t be separated,” said Tubagus Odih, a child surgeon at Arifin Achmad Hospital where the boys are recovering.

    The boys, who have not yet been named, have two heads, a pair of lungs, two arms and two hearts. They weighed 7 pounds (3.2 kilograms). Copyright: CNN.

    More Conjoined Twins

    Bangladeshi conjoined twins die after operation – Jul 7, 2009

    CHITTAGONG, Bangladesh (AFP) — Newborn twins joined at the stomach and legs died on Tuesday in Bangladesh after efforts by a team of surgeons to separate them failed.

    The cause of death was given as multiple organ failure.

    “They were very rare conjoined twins,” said Tahmina Banu, one of the surgeons at Chittagong Medical College Hospital in southeastern Bangladesh.

    “We thought the dominant child would survive if we could separate him through surgery. But both died within minutes,” Banu told AFP.

    The twins — one male and the other’s sex not identified– were born on Saturday with four hands, three legs and no developed excretory organs.

    Four previous operations in Bangladesh to separate conjoined twins in the past few years have resulted in the deaths of all but two children.

    Last August, a four-month-old Bangladeshi girl died hours after marathon surgery by 50 doctors, nurses and technicians to separate her from her twin sister.

    In January last year, an Australian charity flew a set of Bangladeshi twins to Sydney because of poor survival rates of separation surgery in the South Asian nation. Copyright © 2009 AFP. All rights reserved.

    See Also:

    Conjoined twins born in Rangpur

    Teams of Doctors Begin Difficult Task of Separating Conjoined Twins in Surabaya

    Swazi Conjoined twins have died

  12. terres said

    Lisa Chamberlain is due to have a cesarean section at University College Hospital, London.

    The latest news item available about her conjoined twins is posted at the URL

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