A 15-year-old Malaysian teenager since birth has been carrying around the fetus of his unborn twin, but has recently undergone successful abdominal surgery to remove the mass.
Mohd Zul Shahril Saidin is the fifth of eight children and a native of the town of Baling. He was only hospitalized within the last four months after complaining of pain.
After the surgery, reports suggest the fetus (unborn twin) had hair, legs, hands and genitals. The condition, known medically as “foetus in foetu” is believed to be the first such case in the country.
According to the National Institutes of Health, the condition is known as a rare congenital anomaly in which a malformed and parasitic fetus is located in the body of its twin. The mass resided in Saidin’s abdomen. It is estimated that this phenomenon occurs in 1 in every 500,000 live births.
Hasmah Ahmad, 38, the boy’s mother, described the mass in shocking detail to Central European News (CEN), saying:
“The foetus removed from my son’s stomach was formed with organs like those of a baby – only the nose and mouth were not complete.”
She expressed her relief to local media after surgeons in the Sultan Abdul Hamid Hospital, in Sungai Petani in the north-western Malaysian state of Kedah, performed the successful operation.
The boy’s mother has also reportedly “accepted her son’s fate”, if the tumour truly was Mohd Zul Shahril’s twin. The family has performed funeral rites on the fetus, which has been buried in a cemetery in Sungai Petani.
Mohd Zul Shahril is reportedly still recovering in hospital. The boy’s ordeal has gained massive interest on social media in Malaysia.
There is clearly no defined cause for “foetus in foetu” – an abnormality similar to more well-documented conditions such as a “vanishing twin” or “parasitic twin”.