Babyception: The Fetus-in-Fetu

baby human fetus
 
There exists a rare medical condition in which a baby is born with a fetus inside it. In other words, there is a baby within a baby. Fetus-in-fetu is a developmental abnormality where inside the uterus, the larger of a set of twin fetuses absorbs the smaller one into its body. The condition is typically diagnosed after the surviving twin has been delivered but sometimes it goes unnoticed until adulthood or death.
 
Fetus-in-fetu is so uncommon that it is believed to occur only 1 out of 500,000 births, arising in monozygotic diamniotic twins in which the division is not even. To date, only 100 cases have been reported.
 
fetu in fetu baby a singapore
Baby A’s Fetu-in-Fetu
 
In 2005, a baby was diagnosed with this rare condition in Singapore. Referred to only as Baby A, Annals, Accademy of Medicine Singapore reported that an intra-abdominal mass was discovered in a pre-natal examination when he was 31-weeks. Another scan was taken at 33-weeks and it confirmed the presence of a cystic mass with solid components. Baby A was delivered at 37 weeks old via caesarean section and a laparotomy was soon performed. The mass removed from Baby A’s abdomen weighed 20 grams and “represented a tense amniotic sac with a fetoid mass within. The sac contained clear fluid and the fetus within had grossly visible limbs.” Further examination revealed that the fetus had two malformed lower limbs with feet, a rudimentary right upper limb, and a spinal cord. No organs were detected. Baby A remained healthy and well after the successful surgery.
 
Two-month-old Nazia from Islamabad, Pakistan had two fetuses totaling two pounds surgically removed in 2006. "It is extremely rare to have two fetuses being discovered inside another," the chief doctor who led the operation said. "Basically, it's a case of triplets, but two of the siblings grew in the other."
 
The Journal of Indian Association of Pediatric Surgeons published a report in 2007 of a 4-month-old baby falling gravely ill. The baby girl was rushed to the hospital with massive abdominal distention and respiratory distress. A quick checkup showed massive distention and a mass in the upper right abdomen. She underwent emergency surgery to remove the “incompletely developed fetus” that weighed 1200 grams and had two rudimentary limbs, a head, a trunk and presence of skin, germinating buds of limbs, and central nervous tissue.
 
For little John Hare, he was not as fortunate as the previous mentioned babies who all had their parasitic twins removed with the help of modern medicine and technology. Baby John was born on 18 May 1807 and it was observed that shortly after his birth, a mass on his abdomen appeared. Within a month, he was constantly falling ill, suffered from frequent vomiting and passed out green and yellow diarrhea. After 8 months, he was reduced to “a mere skeleton clothed in skin”. However it was noticed as he got thinner day by day, the mass in his abdomen rapidly increased in size until it was nearly 36 inches in circumference. After little John wasted away, an autopsy was carried out which brought to light a horrifying revelation of his twin that was living inside him. According to the doctor who described it;
 
“The surface of this singular monster was covered with a quantity of sebaceous matter, such, in all respects as is often met with on the skin of infants recently born. When this was removed the creature appeared as rosy and as healthy as if it had been yet alive. Its short and stout limbs were plump and firm; they were almost fixed in a posture resembling that in which the foetus in utero is usually found. . . . [However] above and between the shoulders was situated a dark red fleshy mass in the place of head.”
 
John’s headless, parasitic twin was feeding off him and actually growing internally until he passed away and the sustenance stopped.
 
As much as the title of this article may seem quite light-hearted, it is definitely not a joking matter should such a terrible fate befall a baby, much less said for the poor little soul trapped within who will never get to see the light of this world.
 

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