Updated: 05/12/2014 17:32 | By Agence France-Presse

rare twins born in Sydney

An Australian couple have welcomed the birth of conjoined twins who have separate brains and identical faces but share a body, describing their girls as "little Aussie fighters", a report said Monday.


One body, two faces: rare twins born in Sydney

Illustration photo shows a new born baby on September 17, 2013 at the Lens hospital, northern France - by Philippe Huguen

Sydney couple Renee Young and Simon Howie learned at a 19-week ultrasound that their babies would be born with a rare condition called diprosopus, Woman's Day magazine reported.

"Even though there is only one body, we call them our twins," Howie told the magazine.

"To us, they are our girls and we love them."

Young gave birth last Thursday by emergency caesarean, some six weeks early.

Named Hope and Faith, the girls share one unusually-shaped skull with duplicated facial features and separate brains. They have one set of limbs and organs.

They are in intensive care at the Westmead Children's Hospital in Sydney's west where they have impressed doctors with their progress.

"They are breathing perfectly on their own and feeding," Howie said, adding that they had their first bath on Sunday night.

"They are little Aussie fighters."

Woman's Day said the girls were conjoined in an extremely rare way and the implications of their condition was not fully clear, but they were being monitored closely in hospital.

"We have no idea how long they will be in hospital," said Howie, who has seven other children with Young.

"We just want to bring them home, happy and healthy to make our family a little bit bigger and a bit more chaotic."

Woman's Day said there had only been 35 cases in which babies with diprosopus -- meaning two faces -- were born joined in a similar way as the girls. None survived.

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