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Identical twins tell of live liver transplant first.

THE first identical twins to undergo a live liver transplant in the UK have described how they did not realise they were identical until one of them needed the surgery.

Annemarie Atha, 48, said she did not think twice about donating part of her liver to her twin sister Geraldine Rowing when she became so sick her doctor recommended a transplant.

Ms Atha said it was an added bonus to find out that, despite everything they had always been told by their mother, they were genetically identical, meaning her sister does not need to take a cocktail of drugs to stop her body rejecting the new organ.

"I would just like to say thank you very much Annemarie," Ms Rowing said as she hugged her sister at St James's Hospital, in Leeds, where the operation took place. "Thank you from the bottom of my heart." With both women in tears, Ms Atha said: "I always said I would do it anyway."

Ms Rowing explained how her liver had been damaged by cancer a few years ago and her doctors eventually recommended she went on the transplant list. She mentioned to her doctor that she was a non-identical twin and he suggested doing tests.

The test revealed that the sisters, who live in Rothwell, near Leeds, were genetically identical despite not looking exactly the same.

"We've grown up believing we're not identical," said Ms Atha. "But they said you're identical enough to do the transplant."

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Geraldine Rowing (left) and her twin Annemarie Atha at St James's

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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Nov 11, 2014
Words:257
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