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  • 13 May 2014, 10:21

'Baby With Two Faces' Survives Against Odds

Twins have been born in Sydney, Australia, with one body and one head but two identical faces.

The girls, named Hope and Faith, were born last week and while they share the same body and internal organs, they have separate brains in the one skull.

Simon Howie and partner Renee Young learned the babies would be born conjoined early in the pregnancy but decided they wanted to go through with the birth despite advice from some doctors.

They were born six weeks prematurely by emergency caesarean at Blacktown hospital.

Speaking on the Australian TV programme "A Current Affair" Ms Young said: "If I only get two days with the baby I only get two days. I'll at least have some time with her."

The babies have a condition called craniofacial duplication or diprosopus, just dozens of cases of which have been recorded.

Speaking on the Channel 9 programme maternal foetal specialist Dr Greg Kesby warned the couple that even simple tasks will prove difficult for the twins.

"I think one of the biggest risks to this baby, in terms of surviving, is its ability to breathe on its own," Dr Kesby said.

"I think there are going to be a lot of challenges afterwards related to the way the brains develop.

"That's going to pose you lots of problems. That is the reality. The bub comes out and after a little while struggles, you've got to have that discussion, how far do you take things."

Now the babies are six days old the twins' parents say even the experts are impressed with their progress.

They have a clear, single heartbeat, are breathing unaided and are in a stable condition.

With so little known about the phenomena doctors can give few clues as to the babies' future.

For now their parents, who already have seven other children, are just making the most of each day.

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