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HindustanTimes Wed,17 Sep 2014

Joined at birth, the twins who survived

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, March 14, 2014
First Published: 15:33 IST(14/3/2014) | Last Updated: 17:25 IST(14/3/2014)

Conjoined twins have invited a lot of curiosity over the years, medical and otherwise, around the world. Various parents have exhibited their children, thus born, inviting a certain fame and even making a living off it, at times. 

This of course is true for those conjoined twins who survived. The overall survival rate of conjoined twins is somewhere between 5 percent and 25 percent.

Conjoined twins develop from a single fertilised egg and are therefore always identical and of the same sex.

For some reason, female siblings seem to have a better shot at survival than their male counterparts.

Although more male twins conjoin in the womb than female twins, females are three times as likely as males to be born alive. Approximately 70% of all conjoined twins are girls, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.

Read here about some conjoined twins who are still alive:

Siamese twins: The most famous pair of conjoined twins was Chang and Eng Bunker, Thai brothers born in Siam, now Thailand. They travelled with P.T. Barnum's circus for many years and were known as the Siamese Twins. Due to the brothers' fame and the rarity of the condition, the term 'Siamese twins' came to be used as a synonym for conjoined twins.

One of the earliest documented cases of conjoined twins were Mary and Eliza Chulkhurst. They were born in Biddenden, County of Kent, England in the year 1100, and were joined at the hip.

Ganga and Jamuna Mondal known professionally as The Spider Girls and The Spider Sisters, are conjoined twins from Basirhat, West Bengal, India. They work at the travelling "Dreamland Circus" in India. Ganga, Jamuna have two heads, three arms and four legs.


Abigail and Brittany Hensel
, 23 year old, are dicephalic parapagus twins - meaning that they are conjoined twins, each of whom has a separate head, but whose bodies are joined. They starred in their own Abby & Brittany reality series on the television channel TLC.


Ronnie and Donnie Galyon
(born October 28, 1951) are two American conjoined twins, who hold the current record for the oldest living conjoined twins. In 2009 the twins nearly died from an infection and now need round-the-clock care.

Lori and George Schappell (born as Lori and Dori Schappell, September 18, 1961, in Reading, Pennsylvania) are conjoined twins. George has performed as a country singer. In 2007, George, who was at that time known as Reba Schappell, stated that although assigned female at birth, he identified as male and changed his name to George.


Lakshmi Tatama
is an Indian girl born in 2005 in a village in Araria district, Bihar, having "4 arms and 4 legs."

In this picture from 2008, two year old Indian girl Lakshmi Tatma (C) poses with her parents Shambu (R) and Poonam (L) at their home in a village on the outskirts of Jodhpur. The two-year-old Indian girl who was born with four arms and four legs has started to take her first steps with the help of a walker, after her extra limbs were removed through a difficult surgery. (AFP Photo)


She was actually one of a pair of ischiopagus conjoined twins one of which was headless because its head had atrophied and chest had not fully developed in the womb, causing the appearance of one child with four arms and four legs.

Read: 'Very-rare' conjoined twins born in Sonepat


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