Conjoined twins became famous in 2002. Now they live healthy lives and look unrecognizable
These special girls were born under extreme conditions and immediately became famous because of it. Today their lives are completely different.
Kendra and Maliyah Herrin were born in 2002 as conjoined twins, sharing a large intestine, bladder, liver, and a single kidney between them.
As reported by Shared, their rare births meant that their parents Erin and Jake were left with an incredibly difficult decision to make.
Erin and Jake had to decide if they wanted to keep the twins conjoined or if they wanted to separate them. Unfortunately, both options carried multiple risks for both of their little girls.
It was a risk that doctors would not take lightly either, as surgery to separate them would be long and dangerous.
Four years after their birth, in August 2006, they were separated. They became the first set of conjoined twins to be separated while sharing a kidney.
Kendra was given the one kidney, and Maliyah was kept on dialysis until her mother donated one of her kidneys to her a year later in April 2007.
Before their separation, ethicists in both the United States and Europe discussed the girls' case, as they were concerned about the additional risks to Maliyah's health.
At the end of the day, Erin, Jake, and the girls' doctors felt that separating them would give them the best chance at the most healthy, normal life possible.
But Erin admits that it was a long road to that decision, involving many different doctors with many different opinions.
“One doctor told us he thought everything from the twins’ chest, down was mush, and they didn’t have the organs they needed to survive on their own outside of my womb,” Erin said.
She also confessed that another doctor told her during her pregnancy that she should just abort her babies.
"I’d seen our daughters’ faces close up, at an MRI scan, and fallen in love with them. I was determined to do whatever it took to bring them into the world safely, even if it meant risking my own life,” Erin said of her feelings.
Today, the girls are happy and healthy, living their separate lives.