This Mom Refused Abortion, and You Won’t Believe What Doctors Used to Separate Her Conjoined Twins

When mom Elysse Mata found out she and her husband were expecting twins, she was in happy shock. But when doctors told them her twins were conjoined, and would have a very low chance of survival, that shock turned to fear.

Mata says doctors talked to her about having an abortion, but for her, that was never an option.

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“I told [the doctor], ‘I don’t care what the case is, I’m going to go as long as I can, and if God decides that he needs them more, then so be it,’” she told “Nightline”  last February.

Today, Mata is beyond thankful she trusted God with that decision! Her girls, Adeline and Knatalye, were born on April 11, 2014, 9 weeks early. They were joined face to face and shared a chest wall, diaphragm, intestines, lungs, lining of the heart and pelvis. Once doctors determined that their hearts were wholly distinct from one another, there was hope for separation. Still, the girls had to be in intensive care for months until they were strong enough for surgery.

adeline knatalye 4
Photo: Allen Kramer/Texas Children’s Hospital

After a grueling 26-hour surgery with 12 surgeons plus another dozen support staff, her daughters Adeline and Knatalye were surgically separated successfully on February 17-18, 2015 at age 10 months. They spent a few months in at the hospital recovering, but were eventually able to go home and today they are thriving!

mata family
Photo: Allen Kramer/Texas Children’s Hospital

Perhaps the most amazing part of this story is what doctors used to help separate the twins—the incredible technology of 3D printing! Thanks to this fledgling technology which can make anything from toys to prosthetics a reality, doctors were able to create an extremely accurate model of the girls’ conjoined bodies from their CT Scans. They were able to use this life-like model to guide their surgical instruments during surgery, rather than a flat scan, and with a 26-hour surgery as complicated as the Mata’s, that’s nothing short of a medical miracle!

3d twins
Actual model of the Mata twins body parts, made with 3D printing! Photo: Krishnamurthy/Radiological Society of North America

Thank God for the amazing advances in technology He gives us, for dedicated doctors and nurses, and for a mom who had the faith to give her conjoined twins a shot at life!

We look forward to following the Mata twins’ progress through the years!

For more on their parents’ emotional journey surrounding their harrowing surgery, check out the video below.


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Jenny Rapson
Jenny Rapson is a follower of Christ, a wife and mom of three from Ohio and a freelance writer and editor. You can find her at her blog, Mommin' It Up, or follow her on Twitter.