Caring for Conjoined Twins

Caring for conjoined twins can be very challenging. Those conjoined twins that do survive often have serious physical challenges.

If they share limbs or organs, conjoined twins may be unable to move on their own, eat on their own, or control their own brain or heart function. In many cases, one twin relies solely on their sibling for nutritional, blood, and brain support.

In some cases, separation of conjoined twins is considered in order to increase the quality of the twins' lives, or to save their health.

Separating conjoined twins

Separation of conjoined twins is usually performed when the children are still very young. Typically performed between six and 12 months of age, separation involves a complex series of surgeries in order to completely detach the twins from one another.

In some cases, the brain or the heart must be separated in order to provide each twin with vital organs. To date, about 200 twin separations have been performed. One or both twins survived in approximately 75% of these separation surgeries.

Conjoined twin separation is a highly debated topic, for both ethical and moral reasons. Separation often involves sacrificing one twin in order to save the life of the other twin, and because of this, many see the practice as unethical and immoral.

Separation can also lead to severe physical disabilities and permanent brain damage. Additionally, it is possible for both twins to die during the separation procedure. For these reasons, separation is only carried out after rigorous testing and preparation.

Prognosis for Conjoined Twins

Unfortunately, the prognosis for conjoined twins is not very good. The vast majority of conjoined twins are stillborn or die within a few days of birth. However, those that do survive have a better prognosis.

Many conjoined twins live well into their 60s, and thanks to new techniques used in separation surgeries, many separated twins go on to lead long and fulfilling lives.

Talk with other women having twins in the forum

Table of Contents
1. Conjoined Twins
2. How twins are conjoined
3. Separating conjoined twins
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