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Their baby has one body and two faces. What would you do?

Renee Young and Simon Howie

Renee Young is 19 weeks pregnant. Like any expectant parents, Young and her husband Simon Howie are both excited and nervous about what’s to come.

But unlike other soon-to-be parents, they will face an extra obstacle when their twin baby girls are delivered in July.

Four weeks ago, a routine ultrasound revealed that Young and Howie’s baby had two legs, two arms and one heart just like any other baby. But the scan also revealed that their baby also had two faces and two brains.

Young and Howie’s baby girl is reportedly suffering from a duplication called raniofacial hyperhidrosis (or diprosopus) of which there have only ever been 35 cases recorded world wide.

Speaking with Tracey Grimshaw from Channel 9’s A Current Affair last night, Young and Howie said they were shocked and confused when the doctor told them the news.

“I wasn’t sure how to take in what he was explaining to me,” Howie said.

What the baby girl might look like.

At the moment, the baby is growing healthily. Its heart beat is “beautiful” and its vital signs strong. But there are no other people in the world who are currently living with this malformation.

Doctors initially advised the couple to abort the pregnancy “because (the baby) would be looked upon by the public as a freak”.

They told the couple that it would be hard for the community to accept the child as “normal” and that the duplication could affect the girl’s ability to go to school and make friends.

However Howie and Young have decided to go through with the pregnancy. The baby was healthy and that for them was enough. “At the end of the day it’s our decision,” Howie said.

“It’d be the same as being a child with autism or down syndrome … I don’t believe in terminating the baby if it’s healthy and growing fine, and everything is going to plan.”

Lali Singh

The last known case of diprosopus was recorded in an Indian baby who was born – and died – in 2008.

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Lali Singh was born on March 10, 2008, with two sets of eyes, two noses, two mouths but only one set of ears. She could breathe normally and drink milk through both mouths and her eyes blinked at the same time.

But just two months after she was born, Lali suffered a heart attack and died after suffering from infections caused by difficulties feeding.

There is no way to know if Young and Howie’s child will suffer the same fate.

Young and Howie currently live in the western suburbs of Sydney with the seven children. And they say they don’t need the rest of the community to accept their child because they have their own community at home. And in their home, this baby will be perfect.

According to the Channel 9 report, Young suffers from rheumatoid arthritis and the family survives on welfare and carers payments.

A scan of Young and Howie’s baby.

So, as Tracey Grimshaw pointed out, what happens if the baby survives and needs a lot of expensive medical help?

“We’ll have to cross those bridges when we come to them,” Young said. “We sit back and hope that nothing major will go wrong.” she said.

According to maternal foetal specialist Dr Greg Kesby, “It will be very hard to get to a good outcome here. In fact, some would say impossible to get to a good outcome. But people’s definition of good varies and to them, they want to enjoy the fact that they have a daughter and they want their family of seven others to enjoy the pregnancy.”

And that’s just how it is for Renee Young and Simon Howie.

“I don’t think you can be fully prepared, but we want its existance to be out there. It’s going to be here and I want people to know about it,” Young says.

“If I only get two days with the baby, I only get two days with the baby. At least I have some time with it.”

You can watch the full episode of A Current Affair here.

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