A baby girl born in Hong Kong was found to be ‘pregnant’ with twins.
The girl, born to Chinese mainland parents in Queen Elizabeth Hospital had to undergo surgery at just three weeks old to remove them.
The foetuses, 8 to 10 weeks gestated, had legs, arms, a spine, rib cage and intestines. Both were also covered in skin.
One weighed 14.2 grammes and the other 9.3 grammes – and each had an umbilical cord.
The surgery was successful and the girl was discharged from hospital eight days later.
The extraordinary medical marvel was detailed in the latest issue of the Hong Kong Medical Journal.
The condition, known as foetus in foetu occurs in just one in 500,000 births in the world. Less than 200 cases have ever been reported.
Dr Yu Kai-man, a specialist in obstetrics and gyneacology, believes it is the first documented case in the city.
He said: “It was almost impossible to detect during the prenatal check-up, as the embryo inside the baby was too small,” said Yu, a former professor at Chinese University of Hong Kong.
“Since it is impossible for the little girl to have conceived the pregnancy on her own, the fertilisation of the twin fetuses, of course, belongs to her parents, which has gone to the wrong place.”
The report said the reason behind the abnormality, which happened when the girl was born in 2010, is still unknown, and that the World Health Organisation classified it as a type of cancer.
But it suggested it was possibly linked to the mother having multiple abortions.
“The widespread use of antenatal ultrasound in early gestation may provide more concrete evidence … and shed light on this intriguing condition,” the report said.
A hospital spokeswoman refused to comment on the case.