Twin sisters who were born conjoined at the spine say they still sleep as if they were joined together, 20 years on.

Eman and Sanchia Mowatt, 20, were just three months old when they had surgery to separate at Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

The pioneering 16-hour operation, led by the late neurosurgeon Tony Hockley, had never before been performed in the UK and only twice previously in the world.

Their parents decided to go through the surgery, despite the fact that the sisters had only a five to 25 per cent chance of surviving – and a risk of paralysis even if they did.

Eman said: “We sometimes sleep in the same position as when we were conjoined. We’re quite cuddly.”

Two decades on, they said they remain “very close”. The pair, who are in their second year at university and live at their family home with a younger sister, agree that being separated was the right decision for both of them.

Eman told The Sun : “We sometimes sleep in the same position as when we were conjoined. We’re quite cuddly.”

They said they were "quite different" but loved being around each other "all the time".

Their parents decided to go through the surgery, despite the fact that the sisters had only a five to 25 per cent chance of surviving

The pair agreed that being separated was the right decision for them as it allowed them to lead individual lives.

Both sisters have spina bifida and each has a weak side of their body which causes back pain and problems walking.

Each twin has one leg shorter than the other, while Eman sometimes uses a wheelchair or crutch to walk and Sanchia also uses a crutch.

The pioneering 16-hour operation to separate them had never before been performed in the UK and only twice previously in the world

Eman said: "If I had been given the choice at the time, I would have wanted to be separated."

Despite their health issues, both acknowledge that they have progressed far beyond their doctor’s expectations: when they were able to walk, people said it was a "miracle".

Conjoined twins are very rare; about one in 200,000 live births result in conjoined twins. But it wasn’t till they were older that they realised “what a big deal” their story was.

The pair, pictured with their younger sibling, agree that being separated was the right decision for both of them

Eman said: “Our friends would ask, ‘Why are you on TV? Are you famous?’ and we would tell them we were born stuck together and I think that was quite mind-blowing for them.”

Eman and Sanchia are aiming to raise £10,000 for the Children’s Hospital as a “proper goodbye” as they end their treatment at the hospital and are moved into adult care.

To donate to the Mowatt sisters’ fund-raising, visit https://themowatts.co.uk or https://themowatts.co.uk/fundraiser/

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