Page last updated at 03:16 GMT, Sunday, 30 November 2008

Decision due on conjoined twins

Doctors will decide on Tuesday whether to operate and separate newly-born conjoined twins.

Laura Williams, 18, from Shrewsbury, Shropshire, gave birth to the girls, named Faith and Hope, at University College Hospital, London on Wednesday.

They are joined from their breastbone to their navel, so share a liver but have separate hearts.

Their mother told the Mail on Sunday that her babies, now at Great Ormond Street Hospital, were "fighters".

Mrs Williams is believed to be the youngest mother of conjoined twins in Britain.

'Beautiful'

She said the moment she first saw the girls, who were delivered by Caesarean section on Wednesday was "brilliant" and "amazing".

She told the newspaper: "After I came round from the operation they wheeled me in to see them.

"They had tucked Hope's arm underneath and it was Faith's arm that I could see.

"I touched her and I took her hand and she was grasping it.

"They were both blowing little bubbles.

"They were so beautiful, I couldn't stop looking at them. After everything everyone said, I'm so glad they've proved them all wrong."

Mrs Williams and her husband Aled, from Anglesey, found out about their children's condition after a routine 12-week scan.

I prepared myself for the worst, just in case, but from the first time I felt them kick, I thought they were going to be OK
Laura Williams

They were advised by doctors to have their daughters aborted but they refused to have a termination.

Mrs Williams said: "The night before the operation I couldn't sleep. I prepared myself for the worst, just in case, but from the first time I felt them kick, I thought they were going to be OK. And they're still here.

"They're little fighters."

Her husband said: "No words can describe it. I was so excited and happy and when I heard them screaming, it was like the world had lifted off my shoulders.

"The first thing I did was tell Laura they were all right and when I did, a single tear fell down her cheek."

The twins were christened one hour later then put in an ambulance to Great Ormond Street - a leading European centre for the care of conjoined twins.

Mrs Williams said she was optimistic about her daughters' chances of success.

'Significant abnormalities'

"The only thing they share is the liver and as that's the only major organ that can regenerate, the doctors can split it between the two of them and it will grow back, " she said.

Nuffield Professor of paediatric surgery at the hospital, Agostino Pierro, said the children's hearts had significant abnormalities that may need surgery.

He added: "The current concern is that the two hearts and the joined circulation raise a risk that the children might suddenly deteriorate and need emergency separation surgery.

He said surgeons would prefer to wait to operate on the children when they are older and stronger but they were beginning to believe that this may be risky.

"A meeting will be held on Tuesday to decide whether to attempt a planned separation this week, but it will be the parents who finally decide," he said.

Conjoined twins are rare and take place at the rate of about one in 400,000 live births.

In 2001 a team of surgeons in Birmingham carried out a successful operation to separate Eman and Sanchia Mowatt, who were joined at the spine.



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SEE ALSO
Twins will get 'fighting chance'
24 Nov 08 |  Shropshire
Conjoined twins to be delivered
24 Nov 08 |  Shropshire
Siamese twins home for Christmas
24 Dec 01 |  England
Pioneering Siamese twin op
12 Dec 01 |  Health

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FROM OTHER NEWS SITES
Daily Record Teenage mum gives birth to Siamese twins - 7 hrs ago
Telegraph Youngest mother, 18, of conjoined twins - 20 hrs ago
Medical News Today 18 Year Old Mother Gives Birth To Conjoined Twins, London - 20 hrs ago
Telegraph 18-year-old becomes youngest mother of conjoined twins - 30 hrs ago
The Independent Conjoined twins are born - 30 hrs ago



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