The University of Maryland Medical Center says that one in every 200,000 live twin births around the world is a conjoined birth. However, 40–60% of these babies are stillborn and 35% of those who do live only live for a day.
Conjoined twins have the same genes, grow from the same egg, and often share organs and limbs that are very important to their survival. Here's the list of the world's top 10 conjoined twins.
10. Abby and Brittany Hensel
Brittany and Abby Hensel were born in 1990. Their parents were told they wouldn't make it through the night, yet the two are heading to college 22 years later. Their situation is unusual in that they have two hearts, two sets of lungs, and two independent brains.
One controls the right side of the body, the other the left, but they move together, have two driver's licenses, ride a bike, and easily navigate the daily lives of 20somethings. The two have been featured in magazines and discussion shows since they were born.
9. Chang and Eng Bunker
Chang and Eng Bunker were both born in Siam in 1811. (now Thailand). Their livers were fused together and could have been easily separated with modern medicine, but because the procedure was much more difficult in their time, the two remained conjoined.
They toured the world as entertainment and made money as spectacles and medical wonders, as many conjoined twins do. The two eventually married sisters relocated to North Carolina and produced over 20 children.
8. Daisy and Violet Hilton
In 1908, the Hilton Sisters were born. Their mother, who was 19 and worked in a bar, sold them to her boss, who took them on a world tour. They were well-known in Germany, the United States, and Australia, and they even did tap dancing in a Bob Hope show.
In 1931, they got their freedom and went into vaudeville, where they were known as the Hilton Sisters. After performing, getting married, and getting a divorce, they moved to Florida and opened a hamburger stand. After making an appearance in public, their tour manager dumped them in North Carolina, where they worked at a grocery store until they died in 1969.
7. Lori and George Schappell
Lori and George, who were first called Dori, were born with their heads joined in 1961. They share 30% of the same brain cells. They were locked up as kids in Pennsylvania, but when they were adults, they were let out.
Under the stage name Reba Schappell, which was inspired by Reba McEntire, George has sung country music all over the world, won an L.A. Music Award for Best New Country Artist, and recorded a song for the Hollywood movie Stuck on You.
Dori's life isn't as busy as George's. She does laundry at a hospital and works around his music schedule. George joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 2006. A year later, he said he sees himself as a man and changed his name for good.
6. Donnie and Ronnie Galyon
Donnie and Ronnie Gaylon are the oldest living joined twins, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. They were born in Ohio in 1951. They are joined from the groyne to the sternum and share all male organs.
Their mother left them, and their father and stepmother raised them. As sideshow acts, they traveled around the US and Latin America for more than 30 years, making enough money to support their family. They still appear on TV, and they still live in Ohio.
5. Eliza and Mary Chalkhurst
When they were born in England in 1100, the Chalkhursts were one of the first known sets of joined twins. Most pictures show them joined at the hip, but some also show them joined at the shoulder. Eliza and Mary lived until 1136, and when they died, they left money and land to help the poor in their village.
4. Millie and Christine McCoy
Millie and Christine McCoy were born in North Carolina in 1851 to slave parents. When they were young, they were sold to different showmen. They traveled under the name “The Two-Headed Nightingale” until another showman stole them and took them to the United Kingdom.
Since slavery was illegal in the UK, the McCoy girls' kidnapper had to give them back to one of their original showmen. Millie and Christine were reunited with their mother, and she taught them to dance, sing, and speak five languages. Before retiring at age 61, they went on tour with the Barnum circus and made public appearances.
3. Krista and Tatiana Hogan
Both Krista and Tatiana Hogan were born in Vancouver, Canada, in 2006. They share a thalamus, which connects their brainstems and lets them share brain signals, feelings, and thoughts.
Research also showed that the twins' visual cortexes send and receive the same signals. This means that each twin can see what the other is seeing. The two have had a number of health problems and surgeries, but they are doing well now and show up on TV from time to time.
2. Ladan and Laleh Bijani
Ladan and Laleh Bijani were born in Iran in 1979. Their doctor left for the United States during the Islamic Revolution, and they were left alone in the hospital. They were raised by Dr. Alireza Safaian, and when they found out who their real parents were years later, they chose to stay with him.
Ladan and Laleh were very different people, and they often had trouble deciding what to do with their lives. One of them wanted to go to law school, and the other wanted to go to journalism school. One of them was very outgoing, and the other was very shy.
Since they were children, they wanted to be split up, but because their heads were joined, most doctors wouldn't do the surgery because it was so dangerous. In 2002, they met a neurosurgeon from Singapore who had already taken apart twins who were joined at the head.
He told Ladan and Laleh that the surgery was very risky, but they still wanted it. More than 28 surgeons and 100 hospital staff members worked on the operation. However, complications after the separation and a lot of blood loss caused the two people to die a few hours later.
1. Giacomo and Giovanni Battista
In 1877, both brothers were born in Italy. They were joined at the waist and had the same stomach, pelvis, and legs. When they were a month old, their parents gave them to the Royal Academy of Medicine in Turin. They were studied and put on display as the “Two-Headed Boy” all over the U.S. and Europe.
The two were said to have never been able to move together (one controlled the left leg and the other controlled the right leg), and they spent the rest of their lives in wheelchairs. They stopped touring after 20 years, married sisters, and moved to Italy to live alone.