Former Conjoined Twins Graduate Top Of Their Class

Conjoined at birth and separated in a risky surgery, Emily and Caitlin Copeland prepare for college and life on their own. INSIDE EDITION has the story.

Identical twins are celebrating a milestone. They just turned 18 and graduated from high school as co-Valedictorians!

Like all twins, Emily and Caitlin share a special bond. They have the same smile and the same zest for life. But these twins are truly special because they were born conjoined.

Home video shows the Copeland twins just after they were born. They were fused together from their breastbones to their belly buttons.

Their mom, Crystal Copeland, was told that her babies were conjoined 17 weeks into her pregnancy.  Doctors informed her that their odds of survival were slim, perhaps as low as 5 percent.

Crystal told INSIDE EDITION, “It was devastating. The only stories we found online were circus sideshow acts from the 1800’s or surgeries where one of the babies died and the other lived, or they both died. We didn't find a single positive story where everything ended happily."

But the girls were lucky. The only vital organ that they shared was a liver.

Dr. Kevin Lally, Chief Surgeon at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston, Texas, he performed the separation surgery, when the girls were 10 months old.

Dr. Lally told INSIDE EDITION, “While the liver is vital, part of it will regenerate so you can cut through it.”

The girls not only survived, but thrived.

Emily said, “Looking at us now, you'd never think we were conjoined.”

Now, they're getting ready for the next chapter in their lives when they'll be truly separated for the first time. They're heading to separate colleges. Emily will attend the University of Houston, while Caitlin chose Concordia College in Austin, about 200 miles away.

Caitlin said, “I'm really going to miss her.”

Congrats Emily and Caitlin for graduating and going on to college and beating the odds.