Abigail and Brittany Hensel: My favorite conjoined twins.

The Hensel Twins turned 18 this year. If you know who owns the photos below, let me know and I’ll add the proper photo credit. Video here.

https://i1.wp.com/i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2006/12/henseltwins3112_228x589.jpgA set of twins who share the same body have celebrated their 18th birthday in the United States. Abigail and Brittany Hensel from Minnesota …  have two hearts, and two spinal chords, but share the same torso have lived their lives side by side.

The teens who enjoy swimming, playing the piano and recently got their drivers’ licenses said they had no intention of being separated.

The girls have beaten the odds and doctors’ expectations to reach their milestone. It is believed there are only four sets of twins who share the same torso and have survived into adulthood. And they are on track to graduate from university, and hope to have a family of their own one day.

“We want to be mums, but haven’t thought how it would work,” Abigail said. The girls passed their driving exams with two separate licenses and two separate tests. Abigail worked the pedals, and Brittany used the indicators and they both held the steering wheel.

Their parents, nurse Patty, and carpenter Mike 48, decided not to have the twins separated at birth despite the risks. “From the first time we saw them we thought they were beautiful,” she told the Sunday Mirror. –telegraph

Like many twins they have very different personalities and tastes – even more so now they are teenagers. Abigail, the feisty, stubborn one, likes orange juice for breakfast while Brittany, the joker of the family, will touch only milk.

Abigail loves pink and all things girly but Brittany prefers purple, multi-coloured hair and wearing unusual hats, and now they have turned 16 they love to experiment with makeup and clothes and giggle about which boys they like.

But that is where the similarity with other teenage twins end. For Abigail and Brittany Hensel are conjoined, sharing one body fused at the torso. Each controls just one side of the body, and yet remarkably this has not prevented them leading a full, active and happy life.

Displaying an astonishing co- ordination which has stunned doctors, they play the piano -with Abigail taking the right-hand parts and Brittany the left – and enjoy sports such as bowling, volleyball, cycling, softball and swimming.

And on their 16th birthday they passed their driving test; a mind-boggling feat of teamwork with each twin using one arm to control the steering wheel. Brittany explains: ‘Abby does the pedals and the gear shifter. I take over the blinkers and the lights. But she likes driving faster than me.’ – dailymail

Two headed conjoined twins Abigail Loraine Hensel and Britanny Lee Hensel had a short documentary about their lives on The Learning Channel. It is not easy to be born sharing a single body with your other twin and they are incredible that they had tried their best in leading a normal life. Here are some photos of the Hensel twins which peers into some of the moments in their lives.

Photo source here. Photographer unknown.

But the girls are more than curiosities. Their smiling faces and apparent good health seem a rebuke to the current medical trend of trying to separate, via surgery, ever more complexly conjoined twins–a trend that often means sacrificing one child so the other can live “normally.” And their tale of lives unpunctuated by solitude has much to teach all of us about the real meaning of individuality and the limitless power of human cooperation.

Conjoined twins are a rare event in the world’s delivery rooms. They occur about once in every 50,000 births, but 40% are stillborn, and, curiously, 70% are female. Conjoined twins are always identical: the product of a single egg that for some unknown reason failed to divide fully into separate twins during the first three weeks of gestation. In the U.S. there are perhaps 40 live cases each year; ordinary identical twins are 400 times as common. – time

hensel twins 5 life photo at the pool

I ran into them recently in Grand Marais, MN. It was the most amazing. They bounced out of their van with several other kids, laughing, bouncing, talking, and just having a ball. They were obviously accepted as [one] of the group. They must have outstanding parents. I feel honored to have witnessed their lives.

Posted by: Dick Moore on May 17, 2004

382 Comments

    1. I’m sure they swim much as they walk– learned coordination. Entirely separate people learn intricate piano duets and coordinated dance routines; they’re in a far better position to learn such coordination.

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  1. even there conjoined it doesnt mean there less beautiful and honestly if they were 1 person people just say they good looking girls,to get back to the point there still beautiful girls nomatter what and they could have a great life together and meet the man of there dreams

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  2. Legal issues are due here. One man cannot marry two women. The twins have “shot themselves in the foot”. They consider themselves to be two people so marriage for them would be bigamy for the husband. Then there is the awful subject of rape. If one does not consent then then what happens? Their parents live in a fantasy world. The girls may live a normal life,but they are not
    normal. They cannot be sheltered by society, forever. It is not our obligation to make exceptions for them. They “made their bed now they must lay in it”.

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    1. Wow.
      Congratulations on being the only person I’ve ever heard compare attempting to live normally with a congenital condition as terrible and difficult as Parapagus fusion to “shooting themselves in the foot”.
      I happen to be a Law student, and in fact, laws are bent around specified situations -so- often that instead of speculation about their hypothetical sex life, one might be more efficient by teaching oneself a bit of humility and empathy, or basic respect for others in general.
      And, for the record, assuming someone can’t live a normal life because of the way they look is bigoted and close-minded. A quadruple-amputee recently swam across the English channel. have you done that? I doubt it.

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      1. Dear Xi Hu,

        I like your comment I did not know that the person you mention swam across the english channel. How are you getting on with your law training, would you like to come to Al Murray’s evening of entertainment held anually at the effingham golf club in Surrey linked with the charity of which he is a patron in July. My e mail is sarah.mackintosh900@gmail.com

        Best Wishes,

        Sarah Mackintosh.

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    2. Donna G, you live in a fantasy world if you think the Hensel’s haven’t already thought of these issues. Legally they are two people. For example they each had to take a separate driving test. Legally, I would image, they can each have a husband. For either to marry, a very special man would need to be found. Doesn’t every woman want a special man for her husband? No one can work these things out better than Abbey and Brittany. They did each have their own prom dates. Why not their own husbands? The fact that they share genitalia isn’t strange to them at all. It’s the only life they’ve known. It’s only strange to those of us “normal” people who haven’t faced their challenges. Apparently the fact that they’ve done so well so far is reprehensible to some. Do you wish to further complicate things for Abby and Brittany by forcing them into a single identity? Or are you sore that their mother gave birth in the first place? Why would you rather look for something to blame them for instead of marveling at what they have over come? How could they have “shot themselves in the foot” or “made their bed”? They didn’t choose this life. Their bed was made for them and they’ve made the best they can of it. They are beautiful. You must be a bitter woman.

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    3. Judging from your post Donna; I think people have been making “exceptions” for you for some time now. These girls are extraordinary people and should be applauded for their accomplishments…NOT ridiculed as you have done. Just how do you think they’re responsible for being conjoined?

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    4. brings up a good point on the rape thing what if one wants to have sex and the other dose not etc though i suppose if one was aroused the other probably would be what with the whole chemical changes part of arousal

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    5. The good news, Donna? There’s no cure for stupidity — but that doesn’t mean that you too can’t live a normal life!

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    1. Exactly why was it important that you let everyone know about this? Do you get your kicks by spreading rumors? Disgusting little person!

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    2. The photo you saw was a doctored fake. There are before and after photos showing that it was a Photoshop job. False accusations can mess up people’s lives and, as I am now learning, this kind of thing can open you up (and me as the blog owner) to defamation lawsuits… I think that only applies if you claim it is true and know it isn’t? Or if you think it is but it turns out it isn’t… But you just said it was your guess… actually I’m still not very clear on what is defamation and what isn’t.

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  3. amazing! i’ve seen two documentaries about them (one when they were aged 11, the other when they were 16) and always wondered how they were doing. they really have grown up to be strong, beautiful women! that kinda experience – sharing your personal space 24/7 with someone – must really develop you as a person. i have no idea how their romantic relationships are going to work out but it is none of MY or anyobody else’s business. i wish them all the best.

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  4. Amazing. Imagine that your legs are tied together (Your friends legs are tied together too) and then you and your friends waists are tied together. Then try to walk. That is what they do every day.

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    1. They share one uterus, so both would be the mother if they decide to have a child. It may be possible with genetic tests to choose one as donating the most genetic material, but since they both would carry the baby, I don’t see such tests as useful.

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      1. KF
        There are subtle DNA differences between identical twins. But this is all “un-charted territory”, if Brit. is married to the father, she will be the legal mother. I don’t see any judge trying to dispute that. Why would either of the girls or the father try to. Clearly the girls have discussed this, Abby must like the guy enough to be willing to bed him. They ARE different people with differing tastes in food, clothes, etc. As to him being special, Oh yah, almost as special as they are.

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  5. Seriously? Why does everyone assume marriage has to be about sex? I am in love with a gay guy (and I’m a girl) and we’re engaged. He knows I’m in love with him and I know there will never be a romantic relashionship between us. We’ve known each other since second grade (third for him) and we’re best friends. We have a very easy relashionship and are both completely happy and comfortable with the future we’ve made. We have the same interests and the same ideas of what kind of house we want. I have always wanted kids and that’s no longer an option and it hurts, but you know what? He’s worth it. These girls are strong and indepentent people. When you get married, you are not supposed to try changing the other person. True love is about agnowledging a persons faults or disabilities and accepting and loving the person regardless. We chose not to have sex, but the choice is up to the two girls and their husbands when they get married. They will have to figure this out for themselves and it is none of our buisness what this descision will be. I made my choice and I’m happy with it. When these girls make their choices, they are the ones who are going to live that life, not anyone else, and that is the only way they will be able to lead a happy life.

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    1. >I made my choice and I’m happy with it.

      You are fooling yourself. You are also incredibly selfish, forcing a gay man to enter into what amounts to a monogamous relationship with someone he is not sexually attracted to; if you truly loved him you would not do this to him.

      I think you are both very confused people who do not know what you actually want out of a relationship, and are settling for each other out of convenience and a fear of the unknown.

      Your relationship will end with infidelity, by one or both. That or some other tragedy.

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      1. Wow, really? Where did you get “forcing” from? Do you realize that you made that part up yourself based on your projected feelings?

        Speaking of your projections, while you may allow your life to be governed by your genitals, but some of the rest of us let our hearts have that job.

        and by the way, the Hensel twin’s sex life is none of our business, and it is rude to discuss it in a public forum. (again, sex on the brain)

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    2. Sex really is a very important part of marriage (unless you are both asexual). You will understand this when you are older and more experienced. I am sure the twins will find an arrangement that works for them.

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  6. I haven’t been here in a while and hope I can find my old posts and keep going where I left off. I haven’t heard anything about the twins in the last year. Hope all is well with them. I assume they are still in college??

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    1. No, don’t be a Cyberstalker. The current US Federal Anti-Cyber-Stalking law is found at 47 USC sec. 223. Wikipedia lists their residence as St. Paul, Minnesota, USA and the latest news is this: “Bethel University juniors and conjoined twins Brittany and Abby Hensel took part in a student teaching stint last week at Centennial Middle School.” – link.

      I recommend you leave a message for them here. I’m guessing they will see it some day. 😉

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  7. They should play the drums!! since their arms and legs are both controlled separately by each they would be able to create some crazy Beats!!

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    1. If they’d learn to play drums, I’d like them to play in my band! The world can always use another good drummer (or two)

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  8. I think these girls are not only lovely-looking, but have fantastic personalities which have positive, uplifting effects on others. I’ve only seen them on tv, but they’re adorable and I definitely see them as two distinct entities, even though they share many body organs. They are individuals for sure. What they have accomplished is amazing, and I hope they live very long, healthy and happy lives – I think they’re definite optimists. God bless them in all their endeavors.

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  9. I love these girls! 🙂 They have a great outlook, are funny- and gorgeous to top it all off! Best of luck in everything to them!

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  10. Well I’m new on here, but honestly as far as it goes, technically these two are separate as far as having their own heads, minds, etc, but since they do share a very vital important part, then if one has sex, then so does the other. And the most difficult and obvious thing is that they will be literally having sex with the same guy at the same time, and if those two somehow marry different guys, these guys will be having sex with the same vagina that belongs to two different girls. If any babies come out of this, each baby will have to have dna testing to prove who the true mother and father is for the birth certificate and for all legal documents from then on. :/ As far as the law goes, I don’t want to wish them to never marry. In fact I wish them all the happiness in the world and to lead as normal lives as they can, but I’m hoping that all legal issues can and will be dealt with, so that if any other conjoined twins live and choose to marry, they will have a true path to follow with no obstacles.

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  11. My mind boggles. My bad.

    What if one does something illegal? Can the other be incarcerated?

    I wish them the best.

    Incredible story.

    Still boggling…

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  12. I find those twins are pretty and gorgeous like one there in Adam’s family and i find it also she look sexy when they grow up already.

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  13. All bigoted ignorance aside, Ive followed the twins story since i was young and i have stood in awe for years at thier magnificence. I admire unique people, and these two are very unique. I think theyre some of the most beautiful people on earth, I would love to know them personally. I think if i got to know them Id fall in love. All I have to say is, whoever gets thier hands in marriage, or any relationship is amazingly fortunate and blessed.

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  14. Wouldn’t adoption be possible? That seems like an ideal fix for at least the children part of the marriage and family question. That way, though they both have to be present and cooperate in order to care for any children, they could legally adopt their own–perhaps with a father. It would sort out all these birth certificate and legal issues on that end. If they took separate dates to the prom, it does seem that rationally they go for different guys, and that part makes some sense. Sexually, I can’t comment on. That’s totally tricky and sad. 😦 And I have no idea what the law would say, or how the men who married them would feel about such a situation. I’ve heard of twins marrying twins. I guess if they are legally two different people, maybe the law doesn’t care, and it’s just up to the four individuals who would be involved, and what their preferences were. Perhaps marry two men who were REALLY comfortable with one another. 😛 The marriages might be doomed not to last, too. The guys might get to freaked out. I dunno.

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  15. Do the Hensel Twins have an e-mail, Facebook or Twitter page? I have been trying to communicate with them for years now.

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  16. These girls are not that much different than everyone else or a single person who has had to overcome some physical limitation. People, relationships, jobs, marriage should all be flexible enough to accommodate them with little difficulty. Life is diverse and tries one of everything.

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  17. First of all I would like to say wonderful blog!

    I had a quick question in which I’d like to ask if you do not mind. I was interested to find out how you center yourself and clear your thoughts before writing. I have had difficulty clearing my thoughts in getting my thoughts out there. I do enjoy writing but it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are lost simply just trying to figure out how to begin. Any recommendations or tips? Many thanks!

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  18. Heya i’m for the first time here. I came across this board and I to find It truly useful & it helped me out a lot. I hope to offer one thing back and help others such as you aided me.

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  19. Let’s see what all gets covered under a motor insurance -. For instance, if you have a new automobile and you did not create a 20Percent deposit, you want to get GAP automobile insurance. At this time this has to be understood that the sum of insurance plan differ from time to time simply because insurance providers also have to abide by the state insurance plan legal guidelines.

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  20. we seemed to have strayed from the subject- to reiterate, these are absolutely beautiful girls- and I wish them all the best in the future! You’re my new crush, Brittany and Abby! 🙂 Best of luck to you both!

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  21. They are really sexy, i bet they give amazing double [bleep] and more, they have a lot of advantages!!

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