Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Catholic refuses to abort 'rare' Siamese twins

Monday, 12 January 2009

A Catholic woman from Portsmouth who is pregnant with a rare form of Siamese twins has spoke of her desire to see them born.

Lisa Chamberlain, 25, had a scan last week which showed her embryo had two heads and one body - making them dicephalus twins.

The staunch Catholic said doctors advised her to undergo an abortion, but this was ruled out after talking over the matter with husband Mike.

Mrs Chamberlain said: "To me, my twins are a gift from God and we're determined to give them a chance of life."

The twins were diagnosed after the former RSPCA worker was taken into the city's St Mary's Hospital on Wednesday with back pain. She had fallen pregnant on December 18.

She added: "Some might think my twins are strange, but to me they're just special. Everything happens for a reason. Mike and I have spent over seven years trying to have children and we might not get another go."

The couple hope the babies will follow the example of US Siamese twins Abigail and Brittany Hensel. They were born in March 1990 with shared organs below the navel and are still alive.

But conjoined twins expert Professor Lewis Spitz said that Mrs Chamberlain's embryo should be terminated.

They would have a greater risk of infection, he said, and have two heads controlling one side of the body's nervous impulses.