It has emerged that for now, doctors in Brazil will not attempt to surgically separate a set of conjoined twins who have two heads but share one body.
Born on Monday and named Jesus and Emanuel in honor of the upcoming Christmas holiday, the twins have distinct brains and spinal cords but share internal organs.
Because both brains are functioning and the twins are in stable condition, doctors have ruled out any kind of surgery for the moment. Doctor Neila Dahas of the Santa Casa de Misericordia Hospital in the northern town of Belem, said in a statement that "it is impossible to take a decision with relation to surgery, not only because of physical reasons, but ethical ones as well."
"They underwent a battery of tests, and it was found that there are two distinct brains and spinal columns, but they share the other organs."
The hospital said the 23-year-old mother only learned that she was pregnant with twins at the time of the delivery, when an ultrasound was performed.
The two babies "ended up being joined together because of a delay in the cellular division," the hospital said. The condition, known as dicephalic parapagus, is extremely rare.
One set of twins born with the condition in 1990, Americans Abby and Brittany Hensel, have led a relatively normal life in the US state of Minnesota and appeared in a documentary in 2008.