SYDNEY — A couple in Australia is refusing their doctor’s recommendations to obtain an abortion after they discovered that their unborn baby has a rare condition that results in the development of two brains and two faces on the same skull.
Renee Young and Simon Howie have seven children, and were excited about their new pregnancy when they were informed last month that their unborn baby, a girl, had craniofacial duplication, also known as disprospus. The baby has a strong heartbeat, and is perfectly normal other than her face.
There are only 35 cases of the condition known in the world, and there are no known living survivors of craniofacial duplication. The abnormality is believed to result from the failure of a fertilized egg to completely split into two separate babies early in the pregnancy.
Some have remarked that the couple’s baby may not survive birth, and if she lives, medical costs will be exorbitant. According to Renee and Simon, doctors urged them to obtain an abortion “because it (the child) would be looked upon by the public as a freak.” They were told that if the child survived, she would have a non-existent social life and and would have a hard time making friends.
“[It was] difficult,” Renee told A Current Affair when asked how she reacted to the news that her daughter had two faces. “It has hard to take it.”
But Renee and Simon said that they wanted to give their baby a chance at life and enjoy their daughter for as long as they can.
“We both decided that we were going through with it,” Renne said. “We believe that everything happens for a reason, so whatever happens, happens.”
“I’m still going to give birth whether it’s now, ten weeks or fourteen [weeks that we get to have with the baby],” she added. “To me, it really doesn’t make a difference.”
When asked if they had a moral objection to abortion, they said that they don’t believe in ending the lives of unborn children simply because they have a disability.
“It’d be the same as being a child with autism or down syndrome,” Simon asserted. “I don’t believe in terminating the baby if it’s healthy and growing fine, and everything is going to [according to the] plan.”
The couple remarked that they didn’t care what others thought of their child—their daughter would be surrounded by family members who love her.
“If I only get two days with the baby, I only get two days with the baby,” Renne stated. “At least I have some time with it.”
The family lives on welfare, but refuses to end their child’s life simply because of the challenges that they face.
The baby is expected to be born in July and will have a natural delivery, as opposed to a C-section.
Photo: A Current Affair