A newborn girl in China was born pregnant with twins. She has the extremely rare condition called fetus in fetu, which only affects less than 1 in every 500,000 births. It’s so rare that there are only 200 cases of it ever recorded.
Fetus in fetu is a developmental abnormality. It occurs when identical twins grow in the womb but one dies and the undeveloped fetus is then absorbed inside the remaining twin’s body.
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The baby was born with two growths in her stomach. The ultrasound showed that the masses had the characteristics of a ten-week-old fetus.
When she was three weeks old, doctors removed the growths from the girl’s abdomen. Some doctors however have said that the tumor could also be cancer.
The case has been reported in the Hong Kong Medical Journal and describes the baby with two masses in the abdomen.
The ultrasound showed that there were two masses between the child’s spleen and left kidney. After the operation, the tumors were found to each have umbilical cords, limbs, intestines, a spine, and other common parts found in a ten-week-old fetus.
The World Health Organization has classified fetus in fetu as a variant of mature teratoma which is a type of cancer that has well-developed tumors.
The other theory is that the twins formed from the same egg cell then one of the twins died and it’s undeveloped body was absorbed by the other twin. There is still no evidence that this is what happened. While most cases of fetus in fetu are discovered during infancy, there has been a case of a man in India who suffered from the condition and he was 36 years old when diagnosed.
In 2012, there was a documented case in China of an 11-year-old girl who had an arm and breast growing out of her back. Upon investigation, it was found to be a breast and arm which had a shoulder blade and two fingers. There have been other cases of fetus in fetu documented in recent years.