Siamese twin is a popular term known for conjoined twins. They are identical twins, also known as monozygotic twins because in a way they share the same zygote, born with bodies joined together at some part with each other, either by the chest, abdomen or by heads, or other parts (could have many variations).
A conjoined twin is a result of late twinning which is believed to occur more than twelve days after fertilization of the egg. This leads to the incomplete separation of embryos or in other words, the incomplete division of one fertilized ovum. So, wherever the embryos stop dividing, is where the twins’ bodies are united, connected by the same body part. This may be due to factors like genetic or environmental. Conjoined twins occur in an estimated one to 200,000 births and their overall survival rate is low as 5% -25% because of the complexity of the bodies. There are different kinds of Siamese twins, the most common is thoracopagus, joined at the chest and the heart is shared. Second most common omphalophagus, joined at the chest, but the heart is not shared.
As I looked at many different kinds of Siamese twins, I encountered with an unusual Siamese twin, known as “two headed girls” in one body, Abby and Brittany Hensel. Abby and Brittany Hensel are two people from waist up and one from tummy down. They are normally shown on media a lot because of their unusual appearance as conjoined twins. As these twins grow up living a normal life, society is filled with admiration and questions. Some of the questions that might arise in peoples’ mind are like will they be able to date?, or will they be able to play sports?, or how will they go to school? When they become adults, how will they drive?, or will they marry?, or will they be able to find a job they love?, or will they become mothers?, or even what if one dies? Also, how do they co-ordinate with each other because one controls one arm and the other controls the other arm and vice versa. Also, their English teacher questions, “Are they going to be hired as one, or as two? Are they going to be able to share their salaries?”. As the society continues to question, they are surprised to see the twins do everything what normal teenage girls do, like they each have their own driver’s licence. They study at a regular college, have a job, and play sports. Now that these girls are 18 years old, the news is roaming around that Brittany Hensel is engaged and the other half Abby is not so, the question that arises is what about “mating”? As both the twins want to get married separately, will they have two husbands?, and is that ethical under the law because these twins are two woman in one body. Due to the fact, that the girls only have one female organ, if they have babies, whose baby would it be called, Abby or Brittany? As society keeps on questioning their way of life, Abby and Brittany Hensel continue to live a healthy, normal life, letting the time decide what happens to their future.
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Today, doctors could surgically separate the conjoined twins, but is it ethical? Some people consider it unethical because it involves the death or the disability of one of the twins to save the other. So, if one of the conjoined twins dies, is it ethical for both of them to die or just one? Is it justifiable to sacrifice one life to save the other? Parents are burdened with these moral and ethical issues concerning their beloved children. If the conjoined twins are not separated, they have more risk of dying because of the complexity of their bodies, is that ethical? They are no clear answers to this, I guess it depends on the parents’ choice, but I believe the final decision is approached by the courts as to protect the rights of the twins, and to ensure that surgical intervention is not an unlawful act.
Early Child Development There are many key factors that play up to the role of early child development, starting from before the child is nonexistent, until the child is a full grown baby. Bodily Processes of Reproduction There are numerous hormones in the human body that play key factors in allowing a human being to reproduce successfully. Spermatogenesis Spermatogenesis is the 65 to 75 day ...
Therefore, there are many social and ethical implications about conjoined twins with no absolute, conclusive answer.
The Prestigator. (2009).
Conjoined Twins: What Would You Do As a Parent?. Retrieved October 14, 2010, from http://www.momaroo.com/689826486/conjoined-twins-what-would-you-do-as-a-parent/
Summary: It an opinion- based article about social and ethical implication on conjoined twins, how parents would deal with the ethical issue. It gives both points of view of doing the surgical separation on conjoined twins.
Worldswonders. (2010, February 20).
Abigail & Brittany Hensel (Age 19) [Video File] . Retrieved October 14, 2010, from
Summary: A documentary about Abby and Brittany life with their interviews and videos when they were little. It tells about them getting a driver’s license, on their 16th birthday. It tells about their daily life and interview Abby and Brittany about their marriage, education and being mothers in the future.
Health Effects of the Separation of Conjoined Twins. (n.d.).
Health Effects of the Separation of Conjoined Twins. Retrieved October 16, 2010, from www.gsu.edu/~wwwche/Conjoinedtwinsnew1.ppt
Summary: The description of the formation of conjoined twins in detail, listing common kinds of conjoined twins, with many pictures. Also, discusses the health effect of separation of conjoined twins, an issue the involving physical, ethical, and psychological dimensions.
Atkinson, L. (2004).
Ethics and conjoined twins. Retrieved October 14,2010, from
Summary: A brief discussion on ethical point of view on surgical separation of conjoined twins that can cause the death of one twin to save the other in which more of questions asked with less or no answers defined to the questions.
Conjoined twins. (n.d.).
The American Heritage® Stedman’s Medical Dictionary. Retrieved October 17, 2010, from Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/conjoined twins
1. 0 Introduction I have always been fascinated by conjoined twins and have always had questions about them like; what do the Siamese have to do with conjoined twins? Why does this form of twin happen? What, if any genes cause this? What types of Conjoined twins are there? How does the environment affect, if at all, the biological families' gene pool? In my research in efforts to prepare this ...
Summary: A brief definition of conjoined twins stating what it is and how it is formed.
Emerson, Peter. (2006).
Conjoined Twins. Retrieved October 15, 2010, from
Summary: A background history on Siamese twins and the description of the formation of conjoined twins, plus a list of different kinds of conjoined twins. Also, discusses the ethical views on surgical separation of conjoined twins.
Conjoined Twin Engagement. (2009).
Conjoined Twin Engagement. Retrieved October 14, 2010, from http://www.celebritydarling.com/conjoined-twin-engaged/
Summary: A short summary of Abby and Brittany’s life shown on TLC channel. A discussion on Abby and Brittany Hensel engagement with points of views about “mating”, babies. Also, a diagram of the conjoined twins, labelling the body parts of the twins.