SYDNEY — A woman who refused to abort her conjoined twins, diagnosed with a rare condition in which they share the same head, has given birth.
As previously reported, Renee Young and Simon Howie have seven children, and were excited about their new pregnancy when they were informed in January that their unborn baby, a girl, had craniofacial duplication, also known as disprospus.
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.
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 baby survived, she would have a non-existent social life and and would have a hard time making friends.
But Renee and Simon said that they wanted to give their daughter a chance at life and enjoy her for as long as they could.
“We both decided that we were going through with it,” Renee said in February of this year. “We believe that everything happens for a reason, so whatever happens, happens.”
“If I only get two days with the baby, I only get two days with the baby,” she added. “At least I have some time with it.”
Renee and Simon have since begun referring to themselves as the parents of twins, as they believe that there were two children in Renee’s womb who simply conjoined.
“Even though there is only one body, we call them our twins,” Simon said. “To us, they are our girls and we love them.”
On May 8th, Renee gave birth at 32 weeks, and named the girls Hope and Faith. Simon told reporters that his daughters are already exhibiting their own unique personalities.
“Faith tends to cry a little more, while Hope takes after her mum and likes to sleep a lot,” he told Women’s Day.
“You have to see it to believe it,” she said. “Sometimes Faith will cry and wake Hope up, who then looks sideways as if to say ‘Thanks for that.'”
The girls are still in the hospital, and while their future in uncertain, they are reportedly doing well and breathing on their own. Renee and Simon state that each day they have with the twins is a “milestone.”
“We are blessed we’ve got this far,” Renee stated. “I just find them adorable.”
She and Simon state that they have chosen to rise above those who have criticized them for refusing abortion.
“Other people’s opinions don’t matter, but it’s sad to hear it,” Renee said. “Maybe they are just scared of difference.”
UPDATE: 5/27/14 11:42 a.m. The twins passed away on Tuesday, spending a total of 19 days with their parents. Tributes are now being posted on social media sites in honor of the special girls.