A Baby In Columbia
In February 2019, a baby was born in Columbia that shocked the doctors and much of the medical community. The little girl who was delivered via C-section had a twin that was stuck inside her abdomen. What is even crazier is that the twin was still growing. This was shocking considering the twin didn’t have a heart or a brain. The fact that a baby was born with her own twin growing inside her was both shocking and incredible.
What Is This?
This phenomenon is called
How Does This Happen?
Identical twins are formed from a single fertilized egg. At some point during the first week, it splits, and soon, they become embryos. Next, the embryos will take a journey to the uterus where they will latch onto the wall where they will remain and grow for the next nine months. After the embryos split, they remain flat for the first month of gestation. By the fourth week, the embryo will start to fold, almost like a tortilla being rolled into a burrito. The embryo will often move in different directions during the time and changing shapes. It does this so that it can form its body structure and organs. Fetu occurs when the recently split eggs are too close to one another. When they start folding, one can get scooped up by the other. When this happens, the fetus that absorbed the other fetus will grow, while the absorbed fetus doesn’t have much of a chance.
The Parasitic Twin
The twin that was absorbed is called the parasitic twin. This is because the twin taps into the healthy twin’s great blood supply and feed off it like a parasite. This blood supply allows the parasitic twin to grow and develop. It won’t develop into a person; instead, it will become a large mass. When you think about it, the whole thing is completely mind-blowing.
What Happens Next?
When the baby is born, it is not uncommon for the parents and doctors to have no idea that the baby had absorbed its own twin. In some cases, it takes weeks or months for the twin to be discovered. In other cases, it can take years and even decades. It isn’t until pain or a mass in the stomach is checked out by a doctor, and the parasitic twin is discovered. In some cases, the twin is just a mass of tissue. In other cases, the twin can have hair and even teeth. A surgical procedure is required to remove the twin. This should be done soon because the pain is a sign that the twin is causing internal issues.
The 2008 Case
In 2008, there was a case that shocked the doctors. Even the doctors who had experience with parasitic twins couldn’t believe their eyes. An infant was born with 11 partially formed fetuses in her abdominal cavity. Considering that just one parasitic twin is rare, this case was shocking, and it gained the attention of doctors all over the world.
The doctor diagnosed the baby with abdominal cysts in-utero. The doctors delivered the baby via C-section to save the mother’s life. The idea was to go in and remove the cysts after the baby was born. When they found that there were 11 parasitic twins in the baby’s abdominal cavity, the doctors couldn’t believe their eyes. Sadly, the baby died several weeks later.
The Colombian Baby
Fortunately, the Colombian baby that was born with a parasitic twin survived. The doctors diagnosed her condition when her mother was 35-weeks pregnant. After delivering the little girl via C-section, the doctors performed
Thanks to advancing prenatal image testing, doctors are hopeful that they will gain a better understanding of how one twin is able to absorb another. This advanced imaging might also be able to detect a parasitic twin shortly after absorption. When something like this is caught early, the baby can be monitored while in the room, and a plan can be made for right after birth.
Some people who hear that they have a parasitic twin feel guilty that they absorbed their twin in utero. While it certainly isn’t their fault, there is often a shred of guilt. There is also pain. If the parasitic twin remains in the host’s body for decades, it can cause a severe amount of pain.