1 Truly rare?

Conjoined twins are a very rare occurrence with estimates ranging from 1 in 49000 births to 1 in 189000 births. Unfortunately about half of these twins are stillborn and another third do not survive past 24 hours.

It is incredibly uncommon to encounter conjoined twins who have reached adulthood. Abby and Brittany are an even more unique case as they are dicephalic parapagus twins meaning they have two heads but share one body with only one set of hands and one set of legs.

2 Sharing is caring indeed!

Abby and Brittany conjoined twins live a life where they share many things such as clothes but the most fundamental thing they share is their body.

Although the upper halves of their bodies are separate with each twin having her own spine lungs and heart the lower half of their body is joined including their legs liver large intestine bladder and reproductive organs.

3 Best partners

Abby and Brittany each have one leg and one arm requiring coordination for everyday tasks such as walking sitting and eating.

Despite their physical challenges the twins have mastered the ability to move in sync and participate in activities like running and playing just like other kids their age.

4 Going through life twice

Abby and Brittany are unique individuals each with their own birth certificates and social security numbers. This means that despite their close bond and shared experiences they must navigate the bureaucracy of adult life separately.

They each have their own passports and driver's licenses and even had to pass two separate driver tests before being able to drive.

5 Same body different heights

Abby and Brittany who are conjoined genetically identical twins have different heights. Abby is 5'2" (1.57 m) tall with a slightly longer leg while Brittany is 4'10" (1.47 m) tall. Despite this difference they are able to ride a bike swim and run without any issues.

However their distinct gait can sometimes be mistaken for a limp. One unexpected challenge they face due to their height difference is difficulty riding a Segway.

6 First appearance with Oprah

After Oprah interviewed them public interest in the twins spike and TLC filmed a documentary about them.

The documentary was so successful that the twins were offered to star in a reality TV show about their lives - and today are actually quite well known and recognized throughout the world.

7 Better together

Doctors suggested that Abby and Brittany be separated surgically when they were born. However due to the many organs they shared the procedure would likely have led to the death of one or both twins.

As the girls got older their parents believed that keeping them conjoined was the best decision. They felt that even if a separation had been successful it would have greatly impacted the twins' physical independence and quality of life.

8 We can do you one better

Abby and Brittany lead an active and physical lifestyle despite the challenges they face. They have not allowed their unique condition to hinder them from living life to the fullest.

Their exceptional coordination enables them to excel at various activities and accomplish anything they set their minds to.

9 Different people, different lives, same body

Abby and Brittany may have one body but their minds are quite distinct. They have contrasting academic skills with Brittany excelling in humanities and writing while Abby leans towards mathematics.

This difference is reflected in their grades highlighting their individual strengths.

10 Fascinating differences

Brittany and Abby have differing reactions to various foods despite sharing the same colon and genes.

While Abby is unaffected by coffee and caffeinated drinks they make Brittany jittery and give her heart palpitations similar to those experienced after drinking a strong cup of coffee.

11 Not a “We” but an “I”

Despite having separate brains Brittany and Abby both use the first person singular "I" when composing emails or using a chat client.

This is not only convenient but also a testament to their deep connection and ability to communicate as if they were one person.

12 All custom outfits

Brittany and Abby's distinct physical features necessitate custom-made clothing so they collaborate with a skilled seamstress to design the specific necklines they require for their attire.

Despite occasionally sharing outfits they do not always match perfectly and enjoy wearing different hats and accessories to express their individual styles.

13 Many surgeries

Though Brittany and Abby were not surgically separated at birth they did require minor corrective surgery as infants.

Originally born with an extra non-functional arm protruding from their shared shoulder they now each have one arm. Their parents made the decision to have the extra arm removed due to its lack of usefulness and potential hindrance.

14 Figuring out career

After graduating from high school Abby and Brittany had different interests and planned to attend different universities to major in separate subjects.

However they realized that the workload of classes and homework required for separate degrees would be too overwhelming. As a result they decided to pursue a degree in education together and successfully graduated from Bethel University in 2012.

15 Adulting

After Abby and Brittany completed their education they made the common choice of many young adults and moved out of their parents' home to start their own lives.

Now they reside in their own house and enjoy living independently. They have aspirations of dating getting married and starting a family in the future. They are fully aware of their unique appearance and the attention it draws when they are out in public. One of the reasons they agreed to have documentary film crews follow them was to satisfy the curiosity of many people who are interested in their lives.

16 Stars of their own show

TLC's reality show Abby & Brittany documented the twins as they transitioned into their new home post-college offering viewers a peek into their daily lives.

Viewers watched as they settled into their new space added personal touches to their décor and prepared for their joint teaching position at a nearby elementary school. Want to know more about their teaching approach? Keep reading to discover their unique style!

17 Hoping for a fairytale ending

Abby and Brittany are optimistic about their future and believe in finding their own fairy tale ending. They dream of meeting their prince charming getting married and starting a family.

Despite the challenges their condition presents in the dating world they remain hopeful that there is a perfect match for each of them and are confident that they can overcome any obstacles just like they have in other aspects of their lives.

18 Being different feels like a crime sometimes

Abigail and Brittany are aware that their appearance can attract unwanted attention which can make them feel uncomfortable when they are stared at pointed at or photographed without permission.

To address this issue they have chosen to share their lives with the media in the hopes of reducing the rude behavior they have endured for so long. By dispelling misconceptions and stigmas they aim to create a better understanding of their experiences.

19 Consistent work

Abby and Brittany have mastered their cooperation skills to a high level but they must consistently practice and work at it to maintain their performance.

One of their favorite ways to enhance their coordination is through sports. Both twins are active and outgoing enjoying various forms of physical activity but they particularly love bowling and volleyball.

20 Same body for two that functions differently

Abby and Brittany have separate sets of organs so it is uncommon for them to both be sick at the same time. Even if one of them has a head cold the other may still feel perfectly healthy.

Despite their unique condition the twins rarely experience illness which is surprising considering that many others with a similar condition often face various medical complications.

21 Music madness

Abby and Brittany have diverse hobbies and interests but one common passion they share is playing musical instruments. Both are skilled musicians proficient in piano and guitar and constantly strive to expand their repertoire by mastering new instruments.

They are dedicated to seeking out and learning as many musical instruments as possible devoting a significant amount of their time to this pursuit.

22 Ordering for two at restaurants

There is a common curiosity about whether conjoined twins sharing the same body need to eat one meal together or if they each eat separately. In reality despite having a conjoined body they have separate stomachs and digestive systems that only merge in the colon.

Therefore they do need to eat separate meals and have different tastes. When dining out they typically order different dishes although they occasionally enjoy sharing a burger.

23 Double birthday madness

Abby and Brittany have a special perk they enjoy - on their birthdays they each prefer to have their own cake. This means they always get to indulge in two cakes!

Their cakes are usually uniquely decorated and of different types providing them with a lot of variety. It must be nice! We wouldn't mind having two birthday cakes on our special day either.

24 Sleeping cycles make it difficult

Abby and Brittany excel at finding compromises when it comes to sharing a body. They navigate differences like one being a night owl and the other a morning person or one being hungry while the other can't stand food.

Setting boundaries and reaching compromises is crucial for them. The most challenging times are when one is tired and the other is wide awake.

25 Happy and healthy

Despite doctors' concerns due to the rarity of their condition Abby and Brittany are currently in good health and living a fairly typical life.

While historically only four sets of conjoined twins with similar conditions have survived into adulthood all of them experienced health issues like heart defects or organ anomalies. Remarkably Abby and Brittany have not encountered any such complications suggesting they are likely to enjoy a long and happy life.

26 Emergency Surgery with a silver lining

Abby and Brittany were in great health now but when they were 12 years old they needed emergency surgery. Their ribcages were fused together causing constant pressure on their lungs which worsened as they grew.

Luckily the surgery was successful. The doctors were able to expand their ribcage to fit their growing bodies and as a bonus the twins gained two inches in height.

27 No more doctors please

Doctors are naturally curious and inquisitive when meeting the twins as their rare medical condition presents a unique learning opportunity for the medical community. However despite numerous inquiries Abby and Brittany along with their parents prefer not to be treated as a scientific case to be studied.

They simply want to be treated like regular individuals and have therefore declined unnecessary tests or examinations.

28 A strong heart

Abby and Brittany's particular medical condition is exceedingly uncommon even when compared to other cases of conjoined twins. But one thing that seems to be a common thread among people who share similar conditions to Abby and Brittany is the frequent occurrence of heart problems.

However in the case of Brittany and Abby they have not demonstrated any heart-related issues themselves. But given the heightened risk associated with their condition medical professionals prefer to monitor them on a regular basis. This is to ensure that no unforeseen complications arise particularly in relation to their heart health.

29 Two teacher for one

Currently Abby and Brittany are employed as teachers at an elementary school situated near their place of birth. What's notable is that they work in tandem forming a strong teaching duo.

Their teamwork typically involves one of them executing the pre-arranged lesson plan while the other monitors the class. The latter's role is to ensure that the children are well-behaved and remain out of any potential mischief or trouble. This teacher also responds to any questions or concerns the students might raise. This dynamic has led to their class being one where misbehavior is not tolerated. As one of their students pointed out "You can't get away with anything in Ms. Hensel's class!

30 A good social life

The situation Abby and Brittany find themselves in is quite complex and not something you would encounter regularly especially if you have no prior knowledge or understanding of it. The girls in their everyday lives have to deal with countless stares and misconceptions which are a part of their daily routine.

In similar situations many people might have sought refuge from the world. Instead of enduring this uncomfortable reality they might have chosen to withdraw from society seclude themselves from the constant scrutiny of curious onlookers and lead as private a life as they could manage. However Abby and Brittany are different!

Contrary to what one might expect the twins have managed to maintain a positive and sociable demeanor. They have a wide circle of friends they enjoy spending time with. They like to socialize hang out and engage in fun activities. Abby and Brittany's approach towards life is far from being secluded or private. They have chosen to face the world head-on and have fun along the way.

31 A normal life away from limelight

Abby and Brittany made the conscious decision to allow camera crews into their lives and to share their personal experiences with millions of curious viewers. Their aim was to challenge and break down any stereotypes or preconceived ideas that people might hold about them. However it's important to note that their decision wasn't driven by a desire for media attention or publicity.

Although they had the potential to become reality television stars they consciously chose not to pursue this path. Instead they have a preference for leading a quiet and normal life far removed from the intrusive glare of the media spotlight. Now as they approach their thirties their priorities have shifted. Rather than seeking fame or media attention they prefer to concentrate on their professional lives their family relationships and their friendships. They have made a deliberate choice to leave the world of cameras and publicity behind them.

32 Good girls stick together

Understanding why all conjoined twins are identical is not a difficult concept to grasp. The reason behind this lies in the process of their formation in the womb. Conjoined twins occur when a single fertilized egg which would typically split into two separate embryos fails to fully separate. As a result of this incomplete separation the bodies of the twins remain connected or "fused" together in certain areas.

This fusion is also the reason why conjoined twins share the same genetic code. Since they originate from the same fertilized egg their DNA is identical. This is a fact that is widely accepted and clearly understood from a medical perspective.

However despite this clear understanding of the genetic similarities between conjoined twins there are still some aspects that leave researchers puzzled. One of these aspects is the fact that an estimated 70% of all conjoined twins are female. The reasons behind this significant gender disparity among conjoined twins remain uncertain and are currently the subject of ongoing research.

33 There is always an exception

In the fields of biology and medicine a fundamental principle is that there's always an exception to every rule. However this doesn't hold true when it comes to the case of non-identical conjoined twins as medical science has not yet encountered such an instance.

As a result conjoined twins will not only invariably be of the same sex but they will also exhibit identical facial characteristics and other physical resemblances. This however does not necessarily imply that they will have identical personalities. The case of Abby and Brittany serves as a perfect illustration of this fact as despite their physical similarities they each have their unique personalities.

34 The correct term is “Conjoined”

You might have heard the term "Siamease twins" being used in reference to conjoined twins. However it is crucial to highlight that this term is generally regarded as quite offensive and inappropriate.

Its origin traces back to a famous pair of conjoined twins who were born in the country formerly known as Siam which is now present-day Thailand. These twins moved to the United States during the mid 19th century and gained considerable notoriety.

The term "Siamese Twins" came into use because they hailed from Siam. However the more appropriate term to use when referring to individuals born physically connected to each other is "conjoined twins". When it comes to Abby and Brittany two of the most famous conjoined twins they prefer to be referred to simply by their first names - Abby and Brittany.

35 Super rare you see

On an annual basis an average of approximately 200 conjoined twins are born across the globe. However the survival rate is unfortunately low with only about 50% of these twins managing to make it past their first birthday. For conjoined twins who are in the same condition as Abby and Brittany the odds of survival become even slimmer.

Therefore the fact that Abby and Brittany have not only managed to survive this long but also thrive in their lives is incredibly impressive. Their case is quite unique and stands out even among the already rare and unique condition of conjoined siblings.

36 A sweet bargain

Despite the fact that Abby and Brittany physically occupy only a single seat when they go to the movie theater they make it a point to purchase two tickets - one ticket per person.

However this raises an intriguing question - do they follow the same practice when they travel by air? Do they buy two airplane tickets as well? The answer to this is uncertain but what we can certainly admire and respect is their wish to be acknowledged as separate individuals. They also want to set themselves apart financially which is truly commendable.

37 Financial stability and love for job

In the financial aspect Abby and Brittany do not distinguish themselves. Although they hold two separate degrees and each have their own teaching licenses they still function as a single instructor teaching only one class at a time. As a result they receive a salary that corresponds to just one teacher.

It's unclear if this arrangement is considered fair but it seems that the twins thoroughly enjoy their work. It's also important to note that a salary is only one component of a job suggesting that their satisfaction is not solely tied to their income.

38 A big happy family

Abby and Brittany are not the sole offspring of their parents. Their mother named Patty works as a registered nurse while their father Mike earns his livelihood as a carpenter. Apart from the twins Abby and Brittany they have two more children. Their names are Dakota and Morgan. Dakota is the brother of the twins while Morgan is their sister.

The family resides in the picturesque state of Minnesota. They are known to have an extremely close-knit and affectionate relationship with each other. Over the years the parents of the twins had to make some tough decisions. However looking back it seems that they've managed to make the right choices validating their decisions.

39 Siblings and their feud over the AC

Abby and Brittany are unique in that despite sharing certain physical aspects they do not share the same body temperature. This difference in body temperature often leads to distinct clothing preferences for each of them. Naturally this would require a significant amount of compromise especially in situations where one of them feels cold while the other one feels perfectly comfortable.

It could also happen that one of them feels too hot and prefers to remove their coat while the other one wishes to keep their coat on. These differences in temperature preferences can be particularly challenging considering the extreme cold of the Minnesota winters that they have to face.

40 A happy ending

Despite the fact that Abby and Brittany have consistently maintained a private stance concerning their romantic relationships by April 2023 speculation began to swirl that the sisters had tied the matrimonial knot. This speculation was sparked by a TikTok video that rapidly gained popularity.

This viral video showcased a series of photos displaying the sisters elegantly clad in a beautiful white wedding gown posing alongside an unidentified man. However Abby and Brittany have not yet officially confirmed whether they have indeed gotten married. Consequently we must continue to wait in anticipation in order to see if they will confirm this joyous news!