According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, “Births of conjoined twins, whose skin and internal organs are fused together, are rare. Conjoined twins occur once every 200,000 live births, and their survival is anything but assured.” Futhermore, “Approximately 40 to 60 percent of conjoined twins arrive stillborn, and about 35 percent survive only one day. The overall survival rate of conjoined twins is somewhere between 5 percent and 25 percent.”
When conjoined twins are born, they’re born into an uncertain reality. Mothers and fathers of conjoined twins also have to contend with the fact that they could lose two children at once since survival rates (particularly when separation surgeries are attempted) are pretty low. Plus, no parent wants to see their child facing seemingly insurmountable hurdles so early in life over something they cannot control.
Two famous conjoined twins you’ve probably heard of or at least seen before are 27-year-old Abby and Brittany Hensel. These two were born with a conjoined torso and two separate heads (with two separate personalities to boot).
When they were born, doctors informed their parents that because of the vital organs they shared in the torso, surgery to separate them would come with incredibly high risks. For that reason, Mom and Dad decided to forgo surgery and opted to try and give them as normal of a life as possible given their condition.
And these two sassy twins have certainly not let their conjoined status hold them back in life! Over the years, they’ve accomplished so much. They both passed their driver’s test and are able to drive in sync! That’s amazing isn’t it? They also graduated high school and went on to college at Bethel University in their home state of Minnesota. The two young ladies successfully got Bachelor of Arts degrees!
Time and time again, the two were asked to share their unique story and perspective on programs like the Oprah Winfrey Show since the public has always been fascinated by their journey. As they’ve approached 30, however, they’ve buckled down and focused less on reality TV and more on budding into amazing career women.
As it turns out, they’re both teachers. They teach fourth and fifth-grade students and on the whole, their pupils have embraced them and their uniqueness with open arms. We adults need to start acting more like kids on that front!
Next on the agenda? Like anyone else, the two hope that they each find the love of their life so that they can get married. Given all that they’ve accomplished thus far, I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that they’ll achieve that dream, too. Best of luck, Abby and Brittany!