Conjoined Twins Multiple Births

Arizona Couple Welcomes Conjoined Twins

An Arizona mom has given birth to conjoined twins, delivered eight weeks early by Caesarean section.

The babies, born Wednesday at Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center, are joined from the middle of the chest to the bottom of their torsos. Together, they weighed 8 pounds, 10 ounces.

“They are acting very normal for babies this age,” said Dr. Stuart Lacey, a pediatric surgeon with Phoenix Children’s Hospital who will treat the children for the foreseeable future.

“I’m excited and I’m terrified,” said the children’s 20-year-old mother, Ashley Frank. “I know it’s going to be crazy. But I know I will love them.”

The children’s father is Frank’s boyfriend, 40-year-old Johnny Mendoza – who said he’s “nervous and excited” about having twins.

Because of how the babies are fused together, their gender is not yet known doctors said.

If they are strong enough, the two will undergo the lengthy procedure to be separated within the next year.

“It will happen. It will be a complex separation,” Dr. Lacey said.

Conjoined twins are rare: fewer than one in 200,000 live births. They are identical twins whose bodies are joined in utero.

Two contradicting theories exist to explain the origins of conjoined twins. The older and most generally accepted theory is fission, in which the fertilized egg splits partially. The second theory is fusion, in which a fertilized egg completely separates, but stem cells (which search for similar cells) find like-stem cells on the other twin and fuse the twins together.

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Lisa Arneill

Founder of Growing Your Baby and World Traveled Family. Canadian mom of 2 boys, photo addict, lover of bulldogs, and museumgoer. Always looking for our next vacation spot!

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