A two-year-old Chinese boy had surgery after being diagnosed as “pregnant” with its twin.
The child was rushed to hospital, when its stomach became so bloated that it experienced trouble breathing.
To doctor’s dismay, the X-rays and MRI scans showed that the boy had a 20cm undeveloped fetus in his abdomen. The fetus had a fully developed spine, legs and arms with fingers, and was taking up 75% of the boys’ stomach.
The “parasite” twin has been surgically removed from its brothers’ stomach.
When a woman becomes pregnant with identical (monozygotic) twins, but the twin embryo fails to divide itself fully can cause anomalies such as parasitic twins or conjoined twins, according to medical experts. Unlike in Siamese twins, a parasitic twin cannot develop or live separately as one of the embryos is fully dependent on the other.
Other cases of parasitic twins have been reported in Peru and Greece. In 2008 Greek doctors removed a 2-inch embryo from the abdomen of a 9-year-old girl. A Peruvian 3-year-old boy had to undergo operation in 2012 in order to remove the two pound parasitic twin from the boy’s body.