What causes conjoined twins?

How common are conjoined twins? (Getty Images)

San Diego, California. (Fox 5/KUSI) – How common are conjoined twins? What is the reason for this one physical attachment?

Last week, twins born much older, Lori and George SchappellDied at age 62 in Pennsylvania. As reported by the AP, through their careers they pursued separate careers and relationships while defying medical expectations.

In another recent media buzz, former TLC reality stars Abby and Brittany Hensel, another conjoined duo, were brought back into the spotlight in March after it went public. One of them got married. According to TodayBoth are now working as fifth grade teachers.

This has some on the internet, especially Reddit, wondering what caused this phenomenon.

According to the Mayo Clinic, the definition of conjoined twins is “two babies who are physically attached to each other.”

Sometimes they may share organs or other body parts. They may be attached to the chest, abdomen, spine, pelvis, head, or base of the chest or lengthwise.

Stanford Medicine Online says there are two theories about the development of conjoined twins, however, it is not known what causes the chain of events to occur.

One of those theories is that a fertilized egg or early embryo never fully divides. Simply put, the two babies born from this embryo are physically connected.

Another theory is that the fusion of two fertilized eggs occurs early in development, meaning that two early embryos fuse together.

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According to Stanford Medicine, conjoined twins are estimated to occur between one in 30,000 and one in 200,000 worldwide, although the majority are not born alive.

“Because conjoined twins are so rare and the cause is unclear, some couples don't know what their chances of having conjoined twins are,” the Mayo Clinic said.

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