Medical Content

21-day-old baby with eight fetuses

Nov 10, 2022


Fetus-in-fetu (FIF) is a rare congenital condition in which a malformed vertebrate fetus is enclosed in the body of its twin. Meckel first defined the rarity in the early nineteenth century. FIF is a sporadic condition and is frequently (80%) found in the retroperitoneal region. Although, there are few cases where FIF is located in the head, mouth, sacrum, and scrotum. The study shows that the case occurrence is 1 per 500,000 births, with cases of less than 100 reported worldwide.1,2

Symptoms of FIF include: 2

  • Abdominal distension
  • Emesis
  • Jaundice
  • A pressure effect on the renal system
  • Dyspnea

The diagnosis of FIF depends on the radiological finding. Standard abdominal X-rays will be helpful for the diagnosis. For further detailed investigation, 3D ultrasonography and CT scan were used. FIF has recently been detected through magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The weight and size of the fetus depend upon the blood supply. It varies from 13 g to 2000g.2

21-day-old baby with eight fetuses 3,4

Recently, a sporadic case was reported in Ranchi, Jharkhand, India, where a 21-day-old baby was found carrying eight fetuses in her womb. The doctor said, “this was a fetus-in-fetu case and claimed that this was the first such case in the world of an infant carrying so many fetuses.” The fetuses’ size ranged from three to five centimeters and were found inside a cyst in the abdomen.

The baby was born on October 10 in the government hospital of the district of Jharkhand. The doctor investigated the lump in the abdomen and suggested operating as it could lead to the problem in the future.

When the child turned 21 days, she was admitted to the hospital as a cyst or tumor-like structure was found underneath the diaphragm.

Dr. Mohammed Imran, the pediatric surgeon who diagnosed and performed the surgery, said that on November 1, they operated on the baby and uncovered eight fetuses, one after another, inside the part of the 21-day-old baby’s abdomen.


The surgery was performed on a 21-day-old successfully. The infant was under observation and discharged in a week.3,4

FIF is a rare and exciting case of abdominal mass in infancy. Using the latest imaging techniques, FIF can be diagnosed accurately. Meticulous dissection required for complete excision is curative.2


  1. Karaman I, Erdogan D, Ozalevli S, et al. Fetus in fetu: A report of two cases. J Indian Assoc Pediatr Surg 2008; 13: 30-32.
  2. Gupta SK, Singhal P, Arya N. Fetus-in-fetu: A Rare Congenital Anomaly. J Surg Tech Case Rep 2010; 2: 77-80.
  3. Health News. Ranchi doctor finds eight fetuses in the 21-day-old baby. The Economic Times.
  4. 8 Fetuses Found in Abdomen of 21-Day-Old Baby in Ranchi in Rare Case. NDTV.

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