Indian woman has given birth to conjoined twin girls fused at the abdomen who doctors fear are in 'serious' danger of dying.
Sumitra Dutta, from a small village in Odisha, in the east of the country, was told by doctors only two days before the delivery that she was carrying twins.
However, during a two-hour long surgery to deliver the twins, they were shocked to discover they shared a heart and liver, local reports claim.
The girls, born weighing 9lbs 7oz (4.3kg), were quickly transferred to a specialist hospital where doctors declared them in a critical state.
An Indian woman has given birth to conjoined twin girls fused at the abdomen who doctors fear are in 'serious' danger of dying
Ganga and Jamuna, as they have been named by their poverty-stricken parents, are currently under strict observation at Shishu Bhawan Hospital in Cuttack.
Dr Pradeep Kumar Jena, professor of paediatric surgery, at Shishu Bhawan, said that an operation to separate them 'would be too risky'.
He told reporters: 'The girls are joined at the abdomen and share a heart and liver but have separate kidneys, lungs, upper and lower limbs and genitals.
'We fear the heart is not functioning properly and there is a serious risk to their lives and an operation to separate them at the moment would be too risky.'
State government has agreed to pay for the medical expenses of the twin girls, after their father, Kishore Dutta, 24, was unable to afford the fees.
The security guard wasn't able to pay the charge for keeping them in intensive care, but health minister Pratap Jena reassured him that it would settle costs.
The girls, born weighing 9lbs 7oz (4.3kg), were quickly transferred to a specialist hospital where doctors declared them in a critical state
Ganga and Jamuna, as they have been named by their poverty-stricken parents, are currently under strict observation at Shishu Bhawan Hospital in Cuttack
The parents had not consulted any doctors during the pregnancy and are still in shock that they now have conjoined twin daughters.
CONJOINED TWINS: THE FACTS
Births of conjoined twins, whose skin and internal organs are fused together, are rare.
They are believed to occur just once in every 200,000 live births.
Approximately 40 to 60 percent of conjoined twins arrive stillborn, and about 35 percent survive only one day.
The overall survival rate of conjoined twins is somewhere between 5 percent and 25 percent.
For some reason, female siblings seem to have a better shot at survival than their male counterparts.
Dr Jena, who fears the worst, added: 'We will conduct more tests to understand the complexity of their case.
'They are currently doing relatively okay but survival chances are quite low as 90 per cent of these cases die soon after they are born.
'We have to keep them under observation for some time, only then we can we decided the next step.'
A team of doctors observing them will make a decision on the operation after a couple of months.
The next few months are deemed critical, as it will allow the girls chance for their bodies to grow.
Dr Jena said: 'It's easier for doctors to do the surgery and easier for the twins to withstand it once they’re older.
'The months also allow time for many tests and other procedures that help in understanding more about the twins' bodies and prepare them for separation.’