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Miracle and Testimony Ayeni were conjoined at the pelvis. The girls underwent an 18-hour operation at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, on November 7 and 8

By Lordson Okpetu

An American hospital, Le Bonheur, has successfully separated a set of Nigerian co-joined twin girls, Miracle and Testimony Ayeni.

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The operation to separate the twins, co-joined at the pelvic, lasted for 18 hours.

The twins were given birth to at a local hospital in Enugu by Mary Ayeni on November 16, 2015.

Immediately after their arrival, the parents quickly transferred the twins to a specialist hospital in Enugu State.

Not long after, the parents of the twins flew them to LUTH, Lagos, for better medical attention. They stayed at LUTH till June.

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The twins after a successful separation surgery

For months, the family frantically searched for an hospital to separate the twins without any success. Finally, they got referral to American hospital, Le Bonheur.

With the help of Nigerian donors and free flight ticket by Arik Air, the parents of the co joined girls, Samuel Olusegun Ayeni and Mary Ayeni, were able to fly the twins to the United States for the surgery to separate them.

The family arrived US on June 28, accompanied by their church pastor and another member of the family.

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This is an image of the girls’ shared body marked by the surgeons. The central line is where they felt it would be a clear separation. The curved lines with arrows show where they felt there may be issues. The circles are where they planned to insert tissue expanders under the muscles and skin.

How co-joined twins are formed

Fraternal (non-identical) twins form when the mother releases two eggs instead of one, and both eggs are fertilized.

The mother then carries two babies, each in their own amniotic sac. They are not genetically identical.

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Miracle and Testimony Ayeni with their parents in June.

In the case of identical twins, the mother releases one egg that fertilizes and also splits.

They have their own amniotic sacs, and they are also genetically identical.

With conjoined twins, the same process as in the case of identical twins also occurs.

However, the separation process after fertilization is incomplete.

The embryo starts to split to form identical twins but instead forms one fetus.

Since this involves only one egg, conjoined twins are always the same gender.