A South African woman has reportedly given birth to 10 babies in what would be a new world record. Gosiame Thamara Sithole’s husband says they were astonished by decuplets after scans only showed eight babies in the womb.
“It’s seven boys and three girls. I am happy. I am emotional. I can’t talk much,” her husband Teboho Tsotetsi told Pretoria News after the birth. The newspaper reported that following the interview, Teboho disappeared and a police search is underway to find him.
One South African official confirmed the births to the BBC, however another said they were yet to see the babies. A family member, who did not want to be identified, told the BBC that Ms Sithole had delivered 10 babies, five via natural birth and 5 via caesarean section.
Guinness World Records told the BBC it was investigating Ms Sithole’s case.
A woman who had eight babies in the US in 2009 currently holds the Guinness World Record for the most children delivered at a single birth to survive. Last month, 25-year-old Halima Cissé from Mali gave birth to nine babies, who are reportedly doing well at a clinic in Morocco.
Most pregnancies involving large numbers of babies end prematurely, says BBC Africa’s health reporter Rhoda Odhiambo. Multiple births involving more than three babies are rare and often the result of fertility treatments but in this case the couple say they conceived naturally.
Ms Sithole, 37, previously gave birth to twins, who are now six years old. She is said to be in good health after delivering 29 weeks into her pregnancy in Pretoria on Monday evening.
Speaking to Pretoria News a month ago, Ms Sithole said her pregnancy was “tough at the beginning” and she had prayed for a healthy birth, with many a sleepless night worrying about what was to come.
“How would they fit in the womb? Would they survive?” she asked herself, but was reassured by doctors that her womb was expanding.