This month, in the Colombian seaport of Barranquilla, a baby girl was born with her twin inside her. Found during an ultrasound on the mother's 35th week of pregnancy, the twin was initially thought to be a cist, only later being properly diagnosed as the baby-to-be counterpart.
The phenomena, however rare in the homo sapien species, raises a number of questions about the categorization of the lines between life and non-life. After all, the phenomena presents the case of a fetus, successfully birthed by a mother, which is no less developed then what some Christian anti-abortion activists would term a 'human being'.
Nonetheless, Christian fetal activists were not present in the hours leading up to the medical intervention, which would 'fatally' sever the humanoid parasites umbilical-attachment to the newborn baby's abdomen.
As Dr. Miguel Antonio Parra Saavedra told the local paper El Heraldo, the operation was carried out as follows: “After 24 hours they performed a c-section on the newborn baby, and they extracted from the abdomen their 'little brother', who was 45 millimeters and weighed 14 grams."
"The fetus had arms and legs, but he had no heart, no brain, and he died by cutting the umbilical cord that bound him to his sister."
Cut off from the host's life supply, the embryo ceased vital operations.
Scientific Explanation of the Fetus-in-Fetu
As it goes in the scientific community, there is no universal consensus on how the phenomena of a fetus growing within a fetus takes place. The common consensus, however, would be that the event of manifestation is in the first weeks of twin pregnancy when one fetus absorbs the other into itself.
The twin, rather than simply dying, symbiotically merges with the dominant entity. The parasite then relies on the blood supply of its host for survival. The primary fetus, in contrast, is connected with the mother's placenta for the circulation of nutrients.
The question of how to categorize this life form
According to findings by a research team led by Akhtar Murtaza at the Department of Pathology, N.K.P. Salve Institute of Medical Science and Research Centre, while fetus in fetu is categorized as a clinical pathology it has not been found to bear the threat of malignant transformation.
In fact, the study has found the case of a women carrying her parasitic 'humanoid' up into her 30th year of life. Given that this unit does not bear any direct threat on its host, the question is raised as to what it exactly should be categorized as – that is: is the fetus in fetu an entity or merely, what scientist call, a teratoma?
This, as the research team observes is the site of a controversy in the scientific community: “there is a controversy whether a fetus in fetu is the distinct entity or a highly organized Teratoma. It is difficult to differentiate the two. Some authors claim that fetus in fetu is a well-differentiated highly organized Teratoma, while others claim it to be a different pathological entity.”
Murtaza and team argue the key distinction may be the location of the unit in the human body, stating: “Fetus in fetu occurs in upper the retroperitoneum while Teratoma occurs in the lower retroperitonium, pelvis, ovary and sacrocoocygeal regions.”