Unborn Foetus
Haver Jarveoja works on a three-dimensional (3D) print model of an unborn baby in Tallinn January 28, 2015. Reuters/Ints Kalnins

Mohd Zul Shahril Saidin, a Malaysian teenage boy, recently underwent a successful surgery to remove the unborn foetus of his twin. The boy had been carrying the foetus since birth. The 15-year-old boy was hospitalised within the last four months after he complained of pain in the stomach.

According to Central European News (CEN), it is the first case of “parasitic twin” in the country. Fox News reported that the foetus had hands, legs, hair and genitals. Saidin is a native of the town Baling and is the fifth of eight children. Hasmah Ahmad, the teenager’s mother said that the foetus that was removed from Saidin’s stomach had organs like that of a baby but its mouth and nose were not complete.

Saidin’s condition is a rare congenital anomaly and is known as “foetus in fetu.” In this condition, a parasitic and malformed foetus is located inside the body of its twin. The mass was residing inside Saidin’s abdomen for 15 years. This condition occurs in 1 in 500,000 live births. Saidin’s family performed funeral rites on the foetus and buried it in a cemetery.

This rare condition happens very early in the pregnancy of twins where the foetuses share a common placenta. One foetus wraps and envelops the other foetus. The enveloped foetus becomes a parasite as its life depends on the other. The parasitic twin generally lacks certain organs and cannot survive on its own. As the enveloped twin feeds on nutrients received by the host twin through the umbilical cord, they generally die before birth.

According to Independent, an 18-year-old Indian teenager, Narendra Kumar, had to be rushed to the hospital in January with intense stomach pain and it was found that a parasitic twin was living inside him. He was suffering from weight loss and vomiting for a number of years. The doctors operated on him and removed the parasitic twin that had skin hair and teeth.