Conjoined female twins are fighting for their lives after being born with one body and two heads.
Weighing around 15lbs, only one of the heads of the unnamed girls is able to move and is being fed via tubes.
Amid fears they will not survive, the twins are being kept in an incubator where they are receiving round-the-clock care while baffled doctors, in the remote Siem Reap province in Cambodia, decide how best to treat the newborns.
Their mother Ket May, 35, who is extremely distressed by the incident and is still recovering from her Caesarean section on March 3, had no idea she was expecting conjoined twins as she could not afford a £10 ultrasound scan.
She said: ‘My feelings are confused. Yes, I’m happy to have a baby girl but I am distressed, too. I do not know if she will survive. We don’t know what to do.’
Around one in every 200,000 babies are born conjoined. Between 40 and 60 per cent arrive stillborn, while 35 per cent only survive one day.
Conjoined twins are fighting for their lives after being born with the same body and two heads
Their mother Ket May (pictured) had no idea she was expecting conjoined twins due to her not being able to afford an approximate £10 ultrasound scan at any point of her pregnancy
Only one of the heads of the twins, who weigh around 15lbs, is able to move
‘The baby is not strong’
Doctors decided to perform a c-section on Ket after it appeared the infant would be born feet first, only to be amazed when the conjoined twins emerged.
Ket, who is spending all her time at Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospital with the baby’s father Kam Sary, 40, said: ‘I want to be happy but I am also upset. I don’t know why this happened. The baby is not strong.’
As well as being unable to afford a scan, the parents, who have three other children, are also from a remote village that has limited access to normal prenatal checks.
The twins are being fed via tubes and are receiving round-the-clock care in hospital
Doctors are concerned by the twins’ very weak heartbeat, leaving medics unsure what to do
WHAT ARE CONJOINED TWINS?
Conjoined twins occur when siblings have their skin or internal organs fused together.
It affects around one in 200,000 live births.
Conjoined twins are caused by a fertilised egg beginning to split into two embryos a few weeks after conception, but the process stops before it is complete.
The most common type is twins joined at the chest or abdomen.
Separation surgery success depends on where the twins are joined.
Doctors can only tell which organs the siblings share, and therefore plan surgery, after they are born.
At least one twin survives 75 per cent of the time.
Source: University of Maryland Medical Center
‘We have never dealt with this before’
Doctors at the hospital are monitoring the twins’ condition before deciding what to do next.
A hospital spokesman said: ‘The baby has a very weak heartbeat. The mother is also exhausted from the birth. She is also shocked.
‘Doctors have not allowed the baby to be taken home and we have her at the hospital.
‘The birth has surprised a lot of people at the hospital. We have never seen this before or dealt with the condition.
‘We are very cautious about the health of the girl. We are still waiting for a specialist in the condition.
‘The doctors and nurses here will do everything possible for the young child.’