Born: two triplets fused at head


A woman has given birth to triplets, including conjoined twin girls, it was revealed yesterday.

The twins share a heart and other organs such as lungs and genitals. They are in intensive care on an artificial respirator but doctors fear surgery to part them is unfeasible.

Their Argentinian mother also had a healthy son. 'They have one heart so it will be impossible to separate them without one losing her life,' said Dr Gonzalo Medina at the private clinic where they are being treated. The twins were conceived naturally, without fertility treatment.

Both parents are said to be in shock over what has happened. Six weeks before the birth in San Juan, 650 miles west of Buenos Aires, they were told two babies were conjoined and given counselling.

Doctors said the 26-year-old father experienced 'a mixture of surprise and horror' followed by anguish when he first saw the twins.

None of the babies has been named as the parents wait to see what happens in the next few days.

Conjoined twins occur when a single fertilised egg splits to form twins but the separation is incomplete. They occur about once in every 200,000 live births.

Prof Lewis Spitz, of London's Great Ormond Street hospital for children, said there had only been six recorded cases of triplets featuring conjoined twins in the world - one in Britain.

'As the twins share a heart it is very unlikely they will survive,' he added. 'I have only known one case where they managed to live.'

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