Doctors in Colombia reportedly came across with an elderly woman who has been carrying a fetus inside her abdomen for almost around 40 years.
A radiography exam revealed the fetus inside the 82-year-old Columbian woman, who was initially thought to be suffering from gastro-enteritis but later her scans revealed that she is suffering from a very rare condition in which a woman carries a lithopedion, or a “stone baby.”
"This happens because the fetus does not develop in the uterus because it has moved to another place. In this case, the abdominal part of the woman is not a viable (place) and this is what happened, a calcified fetus because the body is generating defense mechanisms and it is calcified until it stays there encapsulated," explained Dr. Kemer Ramirez of Bogota’s Tunjuelito Hospital.
This rare condition lets the fetus to get to an advanced stage and a point comes when it turns into stone to protect her body from being infected by its decomposing tissue.
The mean duration of a “stone pregnancy” is 22 years but there can be exceptional cases. For example, 92-year-old Chinese woman, Huang Yijun, carried a calcified fetus for more than 50 years.
Lithopedions are not very common. According to a 1996 paper in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, only 290 cases of lithopedion have ever been documented.
And it might come as a surprise but apart from all other complications, a woman can live a normal life with this rare condition.