Australian parents who resisted pressure to abort their conjoined twins have spoken of their love for their children, after doctors managed to successfully deliver the babies earlier this month.
Faith and Hope were born with two faces and two brains but share a heart and other organs.
The parents had previously described how doctors told them that they should abort their children, because the public would consider the babies ‘freakish’. But they said no – based on moral reasons.
The twins have an extremely rare condition called diprosopus – only 35 cases have ever been recorded worldwide and none of those children are still alive.
Simon Howie – the girls’ dad – spoke about their life since the birth on 8 May, saying each day they survive is a “milestone”.
“We have no idea how long they will be in hospital. We just want to bring them home, happy and healthy to make our family a little bit bigger and a bit more chaotic”, he said.
Howie also commented: “Even though there is only one body, we call them our twins. To us, they are our girls and we love them”.
The twins were due in July but came early at 32 weeks. Their condition was discovered after a routine ultrasound showed that the babies have one body and one heart but two faces and two brains.
A medical specialist in the area, Greg Kesby, has described the situation as very unusual.
“It’s probably the rarest of all the conjoined twins, you’d be thinking numbers of one in a million to one in two million for this kind of anomaly”, he commented.
Earlier this year the couple said their close-knit family – which includes seven other children – will provide support.
The pair’s teenage daughters were positive about their sisters, with one saying they would love their siblings, “no matter what”.