Cyclopia is one of the rarest forms of birth defect in which the baby is born with one or two eyes on the mid-forehead and the nose and mouth often either missing or nonfunctional. Because most babies born with Cyclopia lack the ability to breathe outside the womb, they usually pass away before birth or shortly after.
While most documented cases of Cyclopia have occurred in animals, there have been a few cases of human fetuses being affected.
Recently, photos of a cycloptic baby born in Cameroon earlier this year have been making headlines on the Japanese internet.
We’ve shared the photos below, but be warned that they are graphic in nature and may be disturbing to some viewers. Please click the link below at your own discretion.
While the photos above were originally posted to a Japanese blog, we were able to trace them back to the personal blog of Sean McCaffery, a Peace Corps volunteer stationed in Cameroon.
In a post dated July 26, 2012, Sean writes that he was visiting a local hospital when a nurse called him over to look at what he assumed was a newborn baby wrapped in a towel. As the nurse began pulling off the towel, Sean found that he was right: it was indeed a newborn, however:
“The baby had no mouth, no nose, and one severely deformed eye with two pupils. The nurse continued to pull away the towel, and at first, I was relieved. The torso, arms, and little hands seemed completely normal. But the nurse continued, and then pointed to the genital area of the baby, where I saw the child had both sets of genitalia and, according to the nurse, no anus.“
Sean continues to write that the baby was still alive and began twitching its arms and kicking its legs while he stood there. However, due to the absence of a mouth and nose, the staff could do nothing but wait for the baby to pass away from suffocation.
According to babymed.com, there are several known causes of cyclopia, all of which are related to high amount of toxins in the body during the formation of the fetus.
The mother of this baby was said to live in the bush, many kilometers away from the hospital, and it’s possible that she may have ingested some sort of toxic plant.
At the end of his post, Sean shares what he thought after seeing the child:
“The mother, carried and expected and hoped, for this child for nine months. Nine months. American’s can’t wait nine months for anything. We can’t even wait a few months to see the baby when it’s still in the womb. We criticize Africans for having no sense of delayed gratification, but we are absolutely the biggest hypocrites when we do that. Yet, our desire to see the baby isn’t all that selfish. If the equipment, such as an sonogram, had been available in the hospital, it is likely that the child’s deformities would have been seen early on, and that the mother never would have had to carry it to term. Her and her family would have been spared the tremendous emotional shock, disappointment, and shame.”