Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Funny Looking Parents

A mum-to-be is preparing to give birth to conjoined twins with two heads but one body

Lisa Chamberlain, 25, had a scan last week which showed her embryos had two heads and one body - making them dicephalus twins.

The Catholic mother-to-be said doctors advised her to undergo an abortion but this was ruled out after talking over the matter with fiance Mike Pedace. They have been told the twins have only a 20% chance of survival.

"They're conjoined at the upper part of the body so they share one body and they've got two heads," she said.
"Doctors told me that I may never be able to conceive because of my polycystic ovary syndrome and I had practically given up.

"I thought, it's not going to happen now, so I've just got to accept it.

"They'd advised that I should have a termination mainly because it would save me heartache further down the line, but I've told them there's no way I'm going to have a termination and I want to go ahead with my pregnancy.

"I believe everything happens for a reason and there was a reason why God chose me to be their mum and there's absolutely no way I would consider an abortion.
"I'm very happy and proud of my twins and they deserve every chance in life."

A spokeswoman for Great Ormond Street Hospital in London said , "The prospects for conjoined twins vary widely according to how well the children are and in particular how they are joined, and what organs are joined or shared.

"In general children joined at the heart are inoperable and sadly will usually die. GOSH has also seen inoperable cases joined at the brain who would also have died, although we have successfully separated two children joined at the brain and the children are doing well.

"Success rates will vary depending on case by case circumstances."

If the babies survive after birth, they will become the first ever British living dicephalus twins.
The condition occurs in just 4% of Siamese twin births.

Michaela Aston, from the charity LIFE which offers counselling and advice about abortion to parents, said: "This young mother is an example to us all as she unconditionally welcomes her twins into the world.

"She knows it will be difficult but she is focusing on the fact that she is already the proud mother of these babies and accepts them however they are. They may not be perfect in the eyes of the world but they are fully human and as such should have the same value and right to life as any other human beings.
Lordy Lordy...Ms Aston is clearly a "glass-half-full" sort of person....

"It is sad that this young mother must face a society which is increasingly unable to accept babies who are not genetically perfect and which may judge her for allowing her twins to continue to live.
"If they do survive, their future will not necessarily be bleak as is demonstrated in the very full and happy lives of teenage twins in the USA who have the same condition, Abigail and Brittany Hensel."

They were born in March 1990 with shared organs below the navel and are still alive.

But conjoined twins expert Professor Lewis Spitz said that Mrs Chamberlain's embryos should be terminated. They would have a greater risk of infection, he said, and have two heads controlling one side of the body's nervous impulses.

Professor Raanan Gillon, the Emeritus professor of Medical Ethics at Imperial College, said it was a very personal decision.
"I just want her to be clear about what she believes she is doing in moral terms," he said.
"If she believes that abortion is morally equivalent to murder, which I don't agree with, I wouldn't want to try to change her mind.

"But if she doesn't think that, I would be keen for her to think about the implications of bringing into the world two people joined together, and whether she actually wants to participate in that."

In a nine-week scan carried out on Miss Chamberlain's twins, doctors could only identify a single heartbeat, although they say a second heartbeat could emerge by the time of a 12-week scan. It will only be at the 20-week mark that doctors will know to what extent the twins are conjoined.

The twins were diagnosed after Miss Chamberlain, a former RSPCA worker, was taken into Portsmouth's St Mary's Hospital on Wednesday with back pain. She found out she was pregnant on December 18.
After the scan results appeared, Miss Chamberlain said doctors and nurses "kept asking each other if they were babies who were close together - or 'something else'.

Please click HERE for my class in "How to break bad news"

"Then the emergency obstetrician was called and he took over. He said my babies only had one body and were joined very high up."

She added: "Some might think my twins are strange, but to me they're just special. Everything happens for a reason. Mike and I have spent over seven years trying to have children and we might not get another go."

And of course,heaven forbid you should consider adoption?

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