A mother astonished doctors when she gave birth to India’s second ever ‘mermaid baby’ but sadly lost it just four hours later.
The unnamed baby, whose sex was unclear due to its underdeveloped pelvis and fused legs, suffered from a rare condition known as sirenomelia or ‘mermaid syndrome’.
Sirenomelia is an extremely rare congenital developmental disorder characterized by anomalies of the lower spine and the lower limbs. Affected infants are born with partial or complete fusion of the legs.
Additional malformations may also occur including genitourinary abnormalities, gastrointestinal abnormalities, anomalies of the lumbarsacral spine and pelvis and absence or underdevelopment (agenesis) of one or both kidneys. Affected infants may have one foot, no feet or both feet, which may be rotated externally. The tailbone is usually absent and the sacrum is partially or completely absent as well.
Additional conditions may occur with sirenomelia including imperforate anus, spina bifida, and heart (cardiac) malformations. Sirenomelia is often fatal during the newborn period. The exact cause of sirenomelia is unknown, most cases occur randomly for no apparent reason (sporadically).
Murskura Bibi, 23, gave birth naturally on Wednesday in Kolkata in eastern India, but had been unable to afford any scans during her pregnancy.
As a result, she only learnt about her child’s condition after she gave birth.
Dr Sudip Saha, child specialist at the hospital said:
The parents are a labour couple and had not sought proper medication during pregnancy due to lack of money.
Lack of proper nutrition and improper blood cirulation to the baby from mother can create this kind of abnormality.
The doctor said he had never seen such a baby before, being only the second in the country.
This is only the first case in the state and the second in the country.
Dr Saha said:
The baby had normal formation in upper part of the body but below the waist its legs were fused together. The lower part was not developed completely.
We learnt the mother had not undergone ultrasound sonography throughout gestation.
Sirenomelia, the proper name for mermaid syndrome, is incredibly rare, and there are currently no known survivors of the condition to date.
There are apparently numerous complications which come from the condition, including bladder and gastrointestinal complications.
Medical historian Lindsey Fitzharris, told MailOnline the condition occurs when the umbilical cord fails to form two arteries.
Sirenomelia is extremely fatal. There are no accounts of anyone with this condition surviving in the past.
Most died within days of being born due to kidney failure and bladder failure.
It’s not clear where the condition stems from.