Medical Miracles…Fetus-In-Fetu

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An expecting mother does what not to give birth to a healthy, beautiful baby. Every parent wants a child that would grow up to be extraordinarily talented, well mannered and what not? Expecting mothers eat healthy food, drink protein and nutrients rich fluids all day, to welcome the little bundle of joy with open arms. What if 9 months of all that nurturing results into something miraculous? There are a lot of medical miracles which can’t be explained by doctors all around the one, and this is one of them.

When a mother is expecting twins and when suddenly one of the twins disappears from the ultrasound, doesn’t necessarily have to mean it was a miscarriage.

WHAT HAPPENED?

  • In early ages the kids were considered to be a curse when their unborn twin just vanished from the abdomen of the mother. Question is where did it go?
  • Even termed as miracles sometimes, these kids were a challenge to deal with. It was considered to be a tumour living inside the body of this child. In this age of scientific development, this is no more considered a miracle; instead it’s a developmental abnormality.

 

 

WHAT ARE WE TALKING ABOUT?

Women giving birth to pregnant children, yes, you read it right; your eyes aren’t fooling you. Women giving birth to pregnant children are being talked about in this article.

Question is how is that even possible?

There are no concrete answers in the field of medicine to answer this, but this is what is believed to have happened- two possible theories for this:

  • When a lady conceives, during the early stages of monozygotic twin pregnancy, in which both foetuses share a common placenta, one fetus wraps around and envelops the other. The enveloped twin becomes aparasite, in that his or her survival depends on the survival of his or her host twin, by drawing on the host twin’s blood supply. And the parasitic twin develops without a brain (anencephalic) and lacks some internal organs and hence is unable to survive on it’s own. The host twin feeds the enveloped twin for the nutrients received over a single umbilical cord, he or she usually dies before birth.

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  • It may be a highly differentiated form of dermoid cyst or a matured “teratoma”- a tumour with tissue or organ components resembling to normal derivatives of more than one germ layer. A teratoma will contain no organs but rather one or more tissues normally found in organs such as thebrain, liver, and lung; teratomas have been reported to contain hair, teeth, bone and, very rarely, more complex organs or processes such as eyes, torso, and hands, feet, or other

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HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF-

  • A 36-year-old farmer had the embryo of his twin brother removed in the town of Nagpur, India, in 2006. The man asked for medical help only after his swollen belly hampered his breathing. Doctors were certain that the man had a gigantic tumor in his belly. However, they found fragments of human genitalia, hairs, limbs and jaws in the patient and finally removed a weird underdeveloped creature having legs and arms with long nails.
  • In 2002, Indian doctors found a fetus in the body of a six-month-old boy. The dead fetus, which surgeons removed from the boy, weighed one kilo, whereas the boy himself weighed 6.5 kilos.
  • In November, 2010, a baby girl born in Hong Kong was found to have two 8-10 week old fetuses in her abdomen, originally thought to be tumors. They were removed by surgery. Reported by the Hong Kong Medical Journal in February 2015.

 

The anomalous phenomenon is known as fetus in fetu. Such incidents are extremely rare: an embryo inside an embryo may appear once in 500,000 pregnancies. The phenomenon always occurs at an early stage of pregnancy. As a rule, the fetuses die in mother’s womb.

EXAMPLES IN FICTION-

  • The comedy/horror film Basket Casecenters on a man’s murderous parasitic brother.
  • In the comedy series The Office (U.S. TV series)Dwight attributes his strength to the dead fetus he absorbed at birth.
  • In the comedy series Community (TV series), Chang states that he consumed his twin sibling’s fetus in utero.
  • In the medical TV drama series Grey’s Anatomy(“We Gotta Get Out of this Place”), a man becomes emotionally attached to his “brother”.

 

 

This is one of those developmental abnormalities in a child which cannot be prevented; they can only be cured-if the child is born alive- through operation. All we can do is hope for a good day, and a healthy child.

– By Shreya Gupta

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