A South African woman claims to have given birth to ten children in what would be the world’s largest live birth ever if doctors confirmed it.
Gosiame Thamara Sithole, 37, who is already a mother of twins, gave birth to seven boys and three girls by cesarean section at a hospital in Pretoria late Monday, her husband said.
Tebogo Tsotetsi – who is currently unemployed – told reporters about the birth of the decuplets late Monday night, saying he is “happy” and “emotional”.
Sithole had previously claimed that the pregnancy was ‘natural’, but such extreme births are almost always the result of fertility treatments – in which multiple fertilized embryos are inserted into the uterus to increase the patient’s chances of becoming pregnant.
It comes just a month after a Malian woman – Halima Cisse – gave birth to nine children in a hospital in Morocco, in another case believed to have been caused by fertility treatment.
Gosiame Thamara Sithole, 37, claims to have given birth to ten children in what would be the world’s largest live birth, if confirmed by doctors
The decuplet birth was revealed late Monday by Sithole’s husband Tebogo Tsotetsi (right), who claimed she had given birth to seven boys and three girls.
MailOnline has not been able to independently verify the birth, as the name of the hospital where it took place has not been made public.
A fertility doctor who had previously commented on the case for verification was contacted but had not responded at the time of publication.
Tsotetsi was the first to reveal the birth to a local outlet Pretoria News, after which the news was picked up by other major international outlets.
Tsotetsi told the newspaper late last night, “It’s seven boys and three girls. She was seven months and seven days pregnant.
‘I’m happy. I am emotional. I can’t talk much.’
In an interview with the same newspaper before the birth, Sithole — who is a store manager — said doctors initially told her she was pregnant with six children.
But that was increased to eight after a later scan. It wasn’t until an operation that the other two babies were discovered.
Sithole said she suffered from the complicated pregnancy and experienced morning sickness early in the morning, followed later by pain in her leg.
Meanwhile, Tsotetsi revealed that at first he couldn’t believe his wife was pregnant with six children, thinking it was medically impossible.
“But when I found out that these things happen and I saw my wife’s medical records, I got excited. I can’t wait to have them in my arms,” he said at the time.
The condition of the children after the birth was not made clear by Pretoria News, which was the first to report the case.
Children of such extreme multiple pregnancies are almost always born underweight and can often be malnourished because the mother’s body struggles to provide so many babies with nutrients.
Infant deaths are also not uncommon after large multiples.
Sithole’s case comes just a month after the world’s first living nonuplets were born in Morocco to Malian woman Halima Cisse.
Cisse, 25, from Timbuktu, was taken to hospital in the Malian capital Bamako in March to be kept under observation before being flown to Morocco to be cared for at a specialized hospital after the country’s president intervened.
Halima Cisse (right) and husband Kader Arby (left) welcomed five girls and four boys on May 4 after a pregnancy believed to have resulted from fertility treatments
Cisse’s children are still being cared for in a specialized hospital in Morocco, more than a month after they were born (pictured) after being born prematurely and malnourished
The children – five girls and four boys – were then delivered by caesarean section on May 4 by a team of 10 doctors and 25 nurses, in a complicated operation in which Cisse nearly died of blood loss.
Doctors later revealed that the babies were born significantly underweight and had “flaws in everything,” but are now in stable condition.
As of last week, the children continued to be cared for around the clock in Morocco, while doctors said their weight has increased significantly.
But medics said they will need to be kept under observation for at least another six weeks before they can consider sending them home.
Cisse would stay close after she got out of intensive care, where she was recovering from a ruptured artery during birth.
Ms. Cisse’s pregnancy was only the third reported case of nonuplets in history.
The first recorded case of nonuplets came in Sydney in the 1970s, although unfortunately none of the babies survived, according to The Independent.
In March 1999, a bunch of nonuplets were born in Malaysia to a woman named Zurina Mat Saad, although none of them survived for more than six hours.
In January 2009, Nadya Suleman — nicknamed Octomum — gave birth to octuplets, including six boys and two girls, at a California hospital.
All survived the birth and recently celebrated their 12th birthday.
Ms. Suleman is still the official world record holder for the largest live births.
The babies were the result of IVF treatment and were nine weeks early when they were delivered by cesarean section.
HOW CAN A WOMAN REACH TEN BABIES?
Women having multiple children is not uncommon, with cases of twins and triplets occurring relatively frequently without scientific intervention.
But high-order multiple pregnancies — four children and more — are naturally extremely rare and almost always occur as a result of fertility treatment.
That’s because such treatment – including IVF – is expensive and the chance of success is relatively small.
This encourages some unscrupulous physicians to implant large numbers of fertilized eggs in a woman’s uterus to further increase the chances that one will develop.
But in rare cases, multiple embryos — or all of them — will begin to develop into fetuses, causing extreme cases of multiple pregnancy.
Halima Cisse, 25, from Timbuktu, spent two weeks in hospital in the Malian capital, Bamako, before being flown to Morocco in March to give birth by Caesarean section in a specialized hospital. In the photo: Mrs. Cisse arrives in Morocco
In theory, there is no limit to the number of children a woman can carry at one time, although the risks to the health of both mother and baby increase with each additional child.
Women with extreme multiple pregnancies are more likely to have anemia — a lack of iron in the blood that can damage the immune system and worsen other complications.
Cases of preeclampsia — a condition that can cause severe headaches and potentially fatal seizures — and gestational diabetes — high blood sugar associated with postpartum depression — are also on the rise in such cases.
Babies born of the highest order multiple pregnancies are almost always born early and tend to be both underweight and malnourished.
Cases of infant death in the days and weeks after birth are also not uncommon.
Nadya Suleman, or “Octomom,” made headlines in the United States on January 26, 2009, when she gave birth to six boys and two girls in California.
The largest set of babies born at once and surviving childhood is eight — born in 2009 to “Octomum” Natalie Suleman in California.
Ms. Suleman, who already had six children through IVF, had 12 embryos left. Her doctor implanted them all at once in her uterus.
Her case sparked a fierce debate over IVF regulations, with the fertility specialist performing the procedure being stripped of his medical license.
Nine children were also born last month to Halima Cisse – a Malian woman – at a hospital in Morocco, where they remain under constant care.
While all five girls and four boys are “doing well” and gaining weight, doctors say it will be at least another six weeks before they can consider sending them home.
Cisse is also still recovering from a ruptured artery she sustained during childbirth, which nearly bled her to death.