A 2-year-old Chinese boy had surgery to give birth to his twin brother, after stunned doctors discovered his parasitic twin's fetus inside his stomach.
The fetus with fully formed spine and limbs, including fingers and toes, was removed from the toddler. Doctors diagnosed the child as pregnant. But, if a child has a fetus growing inside him, does this mean he is really pregnant?
"The boy's not pregnant," said Michael Swor, M.D. of Swor Women's Care in Sarasota. "It is true that in very rare cases you can have conjoined twins, twins that are partially connected at birth, kind of a rare form of that where the other twin has actually become part of the live twins body," he explained.
Identical twins form when an egg splits in half after fertilization. But conjoined twins or "fetus-in-fetu" siblings occur when the egg fails to fully separate.
Dr. Swor said, "There was a famous actor, Andy Garcia, who had the same thing, and had the quote parasitic twin unquote, surgically removed. So this has even happened in Hollywood." At birth Garcia had a parasitic twin, which appeared as a tennis ball-sized growth on his shoulder. The twin was successfully removed and Garcia or course went on to make movies.
"In this case," said Dr. Swor, "it's probably something similar that the so-called twin was inside the body apparently, and probably was causing some kind of obstruction." The parasitic sibling of the two year old boy had grown to 20 centimeters in width distending his abdomen and causing breathing difficulties.
"And that," said Dr. Swor, "was why it had to be surgically removed and how it was discovered and why his stomach looked almost pregnant."