By- Kristen Alinovi, Ryan Cinoman, Alex Daniels, Brianna Gaddy, Abby Larus, and Amanda Riley

Basic Information


Conjoined twins, or Siamese twins, are two identical twins that share a body part, such as a leg, part of an arm, part of the body, or even the head. Conjoined twins are born in rare cases, because it requires the egg to start to divide. This is the usual process for the birth of identical twins, but in the case of conjoined twins, the egg doesn't separate all the way. The part of the egg that doesn't completely divide is where the twins are connected. About half of the conjoined twins are stillborn, and a large amount of them die very early in life even if they can be separated surgically. Usually conjoined twins are separated after birth, but in very rare cases they share too much of the body and internal organs. They have to live their lives joined with another person. Often, conjoined twins are born early, and have severe birth disorders.

Some twins are easy to separate while others are difficult to separate. Whether or not they can be detatched depends on the place they are attatched to one another and what parts they share internally. Some conjoined twins cannot be separated because they share important internal body parts. Separating conjoined twins can be risky and is life-threatening, in many cases on or both of the twins may be killed while trying to separate them. This raises the controversial question of whether or not they should be attempted to be separated and who can make the choice on whether or not they should be separated. In some cases if the twins are not separated then they will both die but one of the twins is weaker and will most likely die if an attempt at separating them is made.

Its really rare to have different sex conjoined twins but here is a rare occasion where it happens. It seems like in this case, the embryos would fuse together instead of not coming apart all the way. If the embryos didn't fuse, the two would be fraternal twins. This is just a guess as to why this would work.
http://www.metacafe.com/watch/214225/medical_mystery_conjoined_twins/

Twins are classified differently depending on where they are connected. Certain types are more common than others, and sets of twins are more famous than others. This website has a lot of good information on the classifications and all of that.

Cool Facts:

Oldest Twins

Ronnie and Donnie were born October 28, 1951
They are 58 years old
They cannot ever be seperated because they are joined from the sternum to the groin and they share their lower body organs
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ronnie_and_Donnie_Galyon
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Separated Twins

Can some of them be separated and survive?
Yes, one example is Hassan and Mahmoud who are Egyptain twins.
Another example, three years ago there was a successful separation of 5 month old conjoined twins. Here is the website I found this from.

First Twins

Eng and Chang Bunker are the original Siamese twins that were exploited by the Barnum and Bailey Circus. They were born in on May 11th, 1811 in Siam which is modern day Thailand. When they were first born the boys were seen as an omen for the end of the world in their village. Their mother refused to allow them to be separated because she feared one or both of them would die. She taught them to move in a way that made them appear like they were merely standing next to each other instead of being conjoined which made them stand out less. The twins were discovered by the Scottish merchant Robert Hunter in 1924. He then asked the Siamese government to allow him to take the boys to Europe with him. In 1829 they were brought to Boston and began touring. They were such a success that they began to tour Europe. They were visited by royalty and most were fascinated by them but the French government was not and denied them access to the country. In 1839 they moved to Wilksboro North Carolina. They began to date Adelaide and Sarah Ann Yates, they were later married in a double wedding. Eng fathered six boys and five girls, and Chang fathered seven boys and three girls. They were all normal but a son and daughter of Chang were born deaf mutes. They died in January 1874, Chang died first, and Eng died shortly after. Their doctor and my distant relative Dr. Hollingsworth wrote several accounts of their medical conditions towards the end of their life including the situation of Chang's passing before Eng when they contracted severe Bronchitis. For more information and pictures of the twins at different stages in their life you can view one of my sources.

Recent Conjoined Twins


Abigail and Brittany

A couple years ago, I saw a television show about two conjoined twins. Their names are Abigail and Brittany Hensel, and they are 19 years old. They each control one arm and one leg of their body. Also, they were both able to get driver’s licenses.
On this site there are some pictures and videos about them and this site has more information.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BkKWApOAG2g

Jade and Erin

Jade and Erin Buckles were born as conjoined twins in February of 2004. They were joined in the chest region, but each had their own set of legs. They shared a liver, but had their own hearts and organs. The biggest problem was the Jade's heart was mostly in her sister's chest. In June of the same year, they were separated. Erin suffered a spinal cord injury related to the surgery and is now paralyzed, but the five year old is going through therapy to try and recover some movement. The twins have a sister named Taylor with a spinal tumor. The surgery that was required to remove that has caused her to lose sensation in her right leg and foot, so she is also in therapy. This family has gone through a lot and their website tells their daily story and allows you to see how their lives have been affected.


Photos

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