Mermaid syndrome, also known as Sirenomelia, is a rare birth defect which may vary in appearance from one child to the next. Sirenomelia is characterized by a birth defect which combines the legs together, which is how it was named Mermaid syndrome. Approximately 1 out of every 100,000 babies is born with Sirenomelia. Most babies that have this birth defect are stillborn; it is very rare for a baby to be born alive and live for several years.
If Mermaid syndrome only involved the legs, it might not be as serious of a disorder as it is; however, children born with Mermaid syndrome have severe problems in other body parts. The genitals may be distorted or absent, the bladder may be missing, and spinal problems may exist. Aside from these problems, the kidneys and digestive tract may also be severely affected.
Famous cases of Mermaid Syndrome
Not all that long ago the condition might have been considered fatal soon after birth; however, in recent years surgeries have been developed to help extend the child’s lifespan. A little girl, Shiloh Pepin, was born in 1999 with Mermaid syndrome. She underwent a kidney transplant, and had surgery to reform her urinary tract. Shiloh passed away when she was 10 years old. Another child, Milagros Cerron, was born in 2004; she underwent surgery to separate her legs. Milagros Cerron had to have surgeries to rebuild her ankles, knees and hips, so that she could learn to walk. She has more surgeries ahead of her to reconstruct her urinary tract and her sexual organs. To see a photo of this pretty little princess, click here .
Approximately 40 children in the US are born with Mermaid syndrome. Many children born with Sirenomelia have so many other birth defects that they are sometimes permitted to die, rather than to put them through a myriad of surgical procedures. Only a handful of kids born with Mermaid syndrome manage to survive. As more surgical techniques prove effective in the treatment of Mermaid syndrome, more doctors may feel comfortable with recommending aggressive treatment.
Children with Mermaid syndrome often have a poor long term survival rate due to the numerous birth defects that go along with this condition. Children born with less severe forms of Sirenomelia are better equipped for treatment and survival. The survival rate of these children born with Mermaid syndrome depends greatly on the severity of the birth defects associated with the condition. It is a miracle when a child with Sirenomelia survives, because most babies with this anomaly don’t survive after birth.