Harlequin Fetus

Harlequin Fetus

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A Harlequin Fetus/Baby is a baby that is affected by the rare skin disease Harlequin-type ichthyosis[1]. Infants born with this genetic disorder have extremely hard, reddish, inflexible skin which cracks instead of folding, resulting in their body appearing to be covered in diamond-shaped scales, as well as reddish eyes.[2] The extreme tightening of the skin in the face often leads to the lower eyelids being turned outwards(ectropion), the diminished size or absence of ears, as well as the lips being pulled outwards(eclabium) which can give the appearance of a wide grimace.[2] Due to the diamond shaped scales as well as the appearance of a large grin the disorder was named after harlequins, a type of comedic clown commonly portrayed as wearing diamond patterned clothing(image right).[3]

Infants with the disorder are often born bleeding through their cracks which cause them to be prone to infection.[2] Because of this very few infants with Harlequin-type ichthyosis live longer than a few days or weeks.[2] Because of modern techniques however, a few notable examples of people living well into adolescence has occurred including: [2]

  • Ryan Gonzalez (born 1986) the oldest person in the United States living with the disease and a healthy triathlete who swims a mile in the ocean every Saturday[4]
  • Nusrit “Nelly” Shaheen (born 1984)the oldest survivor with the condition in the UK, lives an active lifestyle and is studying sports coaching and leadership at Hereward College.[5]
  • Hunter Steinitz (born 1994) appeared in National Geographic Channel show, “Extraordinary Humans: Skin.”[6]


Due to the shocking nature of the fetus, images of these are often used as bain and switch shock videos, in the similar style of Goatse and Lemon Party.

Search Interest

From Urban Dictionary

Y’all wanna know what harlequin fetus is? Google-image it. Actually, don’t. Seriously don’t. Just as chicken put it, the most horrifying image of a disease anybody has ever seen. The fucking thing scared the shit out of me for months after i saw it. The diesease was first observed in South Carolina by Reverend Oliver Hart.

External References

[1]Asylum Eclectica – Harlequin5.jpg (NSFW / Viewer Discretion Advised)

[2]Harlequin ichthyosis.(2011) Genetics Home Reference

[3]Harlequin. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition (2009)Houghton Mifflin Company.
linked from thefreedictionary.com

[4]Man Survives Rare Skin-Shedding Disease:Harlequin Ichthyosis Usually Fatal At Birth.(2004) 10News.com

[5]Alison Jones. Nelly is a real diamond girl(2008) BirminghamPost.net

[6]Sean D. Hamill. City girl aims to educate about her skin disease.(2010) Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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Top Comments


I just google imaged it (safety off) and I immediately shit my pants That was a warning to all who reads this on this page and was like me in the post below this. If you’re gonna google harlequin fetus and click the images, you better have the balls for it Now I gotta go to the laundromat for previously stated reason. Oh and because I care, I’ll describe it for you, the pics resemble redish/yellowish aliens hideously disfigured (one of em reminded me of kid flash or baby fetus flash.


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