Lifestyle & Belief

Jesus and Emmanuel, Brazilian twins, born with 2 heads, 1 heart


A pair of conjoined twins is seen at a hospital in Suining, Sichuan province, May 9, 2011. Like these sisters, the twins born this week in Brazil have a rare form of conjoinment that occurs when one baby fails to develop properly in the womb.


China Daily

Conjoined twin babies have been born in Brazil with two heads and one heart.

Jesus and Emmanuel, delivered by Caesarian section in Brazil's northern state of Para on Monday, each have a functioning brain and backbone, according to the Daily Mail.

However, they have just one heart, one liver and one set of lungs between the two of them—which is thought to make separating them impossible.

More from GlobalPost: "Two-headed baby" born in China (VIDEO)

Dr Neila Dahas, who is looking after the twins at a hospital in Belem city, told reporters that separation surgery was not currently an option, since doctors believe it would be too risky:

"What we know statistically is that the children who undergo surgery and survive are the children who have fewer organs in common. What we've got to think about at this moment is to maintain the children in good condition and see how they will develop."

Jesus and Emmanuel have a rare condition called dicephalic parapagus, which is thought to occur when one baby fails to develop fully in the womb, according to the BBC.

Their mother, a 25-year-old woman from a remote area of Brazil, reportedly did not find out about her sons' condition until just minutes before the birth, having not had any ultrasound scans during her pregnancy.

Despite the surprise, she didn't seem to be upset by her babies' condition, according to the director of the hospital where she gave birth, Claudioner Assis de Vasconcelos:

"On the contrary, the baby was received with much happiness by the family. The mother fed both mouths and the baby stayed with her in her room the whole time. Her desire was to take her baby straight home."

One of the best known recent cases of dicephalic parapagus is that of Abigail and Brittany Hensel, born in Minnesota in 1990. Their parents decided not to have them separated, fearing one or both could die, and now the girls are said to be healthy, active adults.

Here's a video of Abigail and Brittany as teenagers, in which they discuss life with their condition: