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Conjoined Twins Essay

2123 words - 9 pages

Throughout human history, “irregular” human beings have been a source of mesmerization and awe, disgust and fear, and are set apart from “normal” society. A certain abnormality catching the attention of society for centuries is the anomaly of conjoined twins. From the moment they are born, conjoined twins are confronted by a world that does not accept their existence. Conjoined twins face lifelong dilemmas in health, psychology, and identity. Many would prefer to not have the siblings attached at all, but that so-called solution is not as simple as it would appear. Fortunately, society is becoming more informed about these distinctive people; the issues they withstand as well as their ...view middle of the document...

The distribution of vital organs varies in this type of conjunction. Sometimes, the twins share a single heart, other times there are two hearts, while in other cases, the twins only share one or two chambers. In this instance, the twins’ blood circulates together. This is just one instance of mutual dependency in this type of twinning, and survival depends on the amount of shared tissue. Another common merge attaches digestive organs and the diaphragm. In these two instances, there are two fully developed twins. Each twin has two arms and two legs. The only thing that sets these twins apart from anyone else is the small area of unity in the upper body. The only negative consequences are the natural risks due to the shared organs. One twin may be subject to an ailment, and the other twin can also suffer from it. This is why such twins have a hard time surviving into adulthood.
One type of conjoined twin that differs from most is the parasitic twin, in which one twin is fully developed, but the other is significantly smaller and underdeveloped. Many times, the undeveloped portion is stillborn and must be surgically removed for the wellness of the healthier twin. If the less formed twin does survive, it depends entirely on the larger twin to survive. This abnormality is possible when one embryo overtakes the uterus, forcing the other embryo to stop developing completely, or develop slower. Therefore when the twins are born, there will be an asymmetrical pair. The place where these twins unite varies each case. Sometimes the twins will connect just like symmetric conjoined twins in the heart or digestive system. But more commonly, the phenomena of extra vestigial organs takes place in the independent twin. This means that a single person appears to be born, but they are equipped with various non functional organs, which in reality developed for the unborn twin. The vestigial organs can be harmful to the surviving twin due to the need to supply blood to their twin. The Twin Reversed Arterial Perfusion (AKA TRAP sequence) describes the disorder where the full twin must pump for the “acardiac”, or heartless, twin. With this condition, the blood that reaches the acardiac twin is already deoxygenated and therefore “reversed”. The most severe consequences is heart failure for the pumping twin due to an overworked heart. Because of the risk to health, the vestigial organs are commonly removed when safe to do so.
While sometimes removing parts of one twin is necessary for the survival of the other, in other cases the question of separation does not have a clear answer. Early detection of conjoined twins using ultrasound technology can help doctors determine the likelihood of survival of both twins. If it seems like surgery is possible, the pregnancy can commence as usual. However, if the twins do not have a high chance of survival, (keeping in mind only 25% of conjoined twins survive to adulthood) parents can decide to terminate the pregnancy. A successful...

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