When Biology Takes a Turn , Birth Defects I

Some children are born with a rare disorder, such as being a Siamese twin (also known as conjoined twins) , when two babies are connected by one or more body parts. The conception and birth of a child can face a host of obstacles in the womb. In this article, you will learn about rare and odd birth defects, such as a disease that causes bone to excessively grow on the body.


The Cyclops was a mythical creature that appeared in Greek mythology. He had one eye in the center of his forehead, which is where the name ‘cyclopia’ comes from , a condition where a child is born with one eye in the middle of their head.. Some doctors believe that the pregnant women taking certain cancer treatments are at the greatest risk for having a baby with this birth defect. This condition is seen in 1 in 16,000 animal births and 1 in 250 in embryos. One in 2,500 pregnancies end in miscarriage.

Fused Limbs

When two limbs are joined together, they are called fused limbs. Fingers and toes are the most frequently affected body parts that become fused in the womb. In Peru, a young girl was born with her legs completely fused. Because of this, she looked like a mermaid with the rare condition being called the ‘mermaid syndrome’ (also called sirenomelia).

The Oprah Winfrey Show featured a girl named Shiloh Pepin, who was born with fused legs. Across the Internet and national TV, the young girl gained a following. Her syndrome meant that she only had one partially working kidney, no lower colon, no genital organs and legs that were fused together from the waist down. Some children have surgery to separate their legs, but in Shiloh’s case, she was unable to because the procedure would have severed blood vessels that crossed from side to side in her circulatory system. Over her lifetime, she received two kidney transplants. Unfortunately, Shiloh died at the age of 10 years old when a cold turned into pneumonia.

One in every 70,000 babies is born with this “mermaid” disorder.


When a baby is born without the presence of a brain and spinal cord, they are afflicted with anencephaly. There is no clue for this condition and the majority of anencephalic babies die during childbirth. Babies born with the disorder are usually deaf, blind, unconscious, and do not feel any pain. Some babies with anencephaly are born with a main brain stem, they lack a functioning cerebrum that would allow them to ever gain consciousness. However, the baby can still breathe and respond to sound or touch.

Ambras Syndrome

A child born with Ambras Syndrome must deal with an excessive amount of hair over the face and body. The disease is quite rare , there are only about 40 people in the world born with the symptoms. Children find the disease extremely difficult to live with because they are often subject to ridicule when younger.