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Conjoined twin from Nigeria separated in US hospital days before their 1st birthday

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A set of conjoined twin girls have been separated in a US hospital. Miracle and Testimony Ayeni, from Nigeria, were conjoined at the pelvis. The girls, who turned one today, underwent an 18-hour operation at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, on November 7 and 8. They arrived in the US on June 28 with their parents Samuel Olusegun Ayeni and Mary Abiodun Ayeni, their older sister, and their pastor after being offered free flights from a Nigerian airline Arik Air. It was their only hope at separating the girls, after trying and failing to find a hospital nearby that could carry out the operation.

Finally, after months of research, they were referred to Le Bonheur, whose surgeons offered to do the life-saving operation free of charge.  The hospital announced the landmark procedure on Wednesday morning, with more information to follow. Miracle and Testimony were born in the family’s local hospital in Enugu, Nigeria – an eight-hour drive from the coastal capital of Lagos. They were immediately moved to a specialist hospital in Enugu before being flown to Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, where they remained until June. The procedure comes just weeks after twins from Illinois conjoined at the head were separated at New York City’s Montefiore Hospital.

The incredibly delicate operation to separate Jadon and Anias McDonald took 27 hours, and the lead surgeon has admitted he considered stopping halfway through. However, both boys are now recovering and showing strong signs of development. Conjoined twins are formed in a similar way to identical twins. In the case of identical twins, the mother releases one egg that fertilizes and splits. They have their own amniotic sacs, and they are genetically identical. With conjoined twins, the same process occurs.

However, the separation process after fertilization does not complete. The embryo starts to split to form identical twins but instead forms one fetus. Since only one egg is involved, conjoined twins are always the same gender.  Conversely, with fraternal (non-identical) twins, the mother releases two eggs instead of one, both are fertilized. She then carries two babies, each in their own amniotic sac. They are not genetically identical.

– Daily Mail

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