Monday, April 18, 2011

The twin within (1) parasitic twin-a fetus in fetu

When identical twins are formed, one twin begins to develop inside the other, either partially or totally. This is probably the most dramatic example of twinning and  stories of parasitic twins or the fetus in fetu are often to be found in the media.

Here is a study of parasitic twins that has been sensationalised as far as possible:

Here is a good example of how a fetus  in fetu can be made into a good story:

This is a medical anomaly requiring surgical intervention

Yet this is also a sad story of a twin that is not a whole living twin, and therefore the dominant twin will feel a sense of somehow losing out from the twin-twin relationship and also the burden of carrying the weaker twin everywhere with them.

It is important that parents who have consented to have the parasitic twin or the fetus in fetu removed surgically, should bear in mind that the sole survivor, relieved on the physical burden, may still be carrying a psychological burden, a feeling that they have a duty to their twin that is is some way being avoided. Parents should simply bear this in mind and consider the possibility that this psychological effect can be healed, but first it must be acknowledged and understood for what it is.

Surgery is not the end of the story- twinning is a prenatal experience, the effect of which will remain for life, hard-wired into the brain of the survivor.

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