A Malian woman, 25, gave birth to nine infants, two more than doctors had predicted based on scans. In Morocco, Halima Cissé gave birth to the nonuplets. The government of Mali flew her to Morocco for specialized treatment.
“I’m very happy,” her husband told the BBC. “My wife and the babies [five girls and four boys] are doing well.”
Mali’s health minister, Fanta Siby, praised the medical teams in Mali and Morocco on the “happy outcome.”
Prof Youssef Alaoui, medical director of the Ain Borja clinic in Casablanca where Ms. Halima Cissé gave birth, told AFP that the situation was “scarce, it’s exceptional” and that a team of 10 physicians and 25 paramedics had helped with the premature babies’ delivery. He said that they would be held in incubators “for two to three months” and weighed between 500g and 1 kg (1.1lb and 2.2lb).
The nonuplets’ father says the outpouring of love has engulfed the household. According to Reuters, Ms. Cissé’s pregnancy sparked interest in Mali, even though it was believed she was only bearing septuplets.
Doctors in the West African country became worried about her well-being and the babies’ chances of survival, so the government stepped in.
Dr. Siby reported that after a two-week stay in a hospital in Mali’s capital, Bamako, Ms. Halima Cissé was transferred to Morocco on March 30. According to the minister, she gave birth by Caesarean section on Tuesday, five weeks after arriving at the Moroccan clinic. Prof Alaoui stated that Ms. Cissé was 25 weeks pregnant when she was admitted, and his team had extended her term to 30 weeks.
Adjudant Kader Arby, her husband, is still in Mali with the couple’s older daughter, but he says he has been in close contact with his wife in Morocco and is not concerned about the family’s future.
“God gave us these children. He is the one to decide what will happen to them. I’m not worried about that. When the almighty does something, he knows why,” he told BBC Afrique. “Everybody called me! Everybody called! The Malian authorities called, expressing their joy. I thank them… Even the president called me.”
The ‘Controlled Chaos’ of Raising Many Kids at Once
In 2009, a mother in the United States gave birth to eight infants, setting a Guinness World Record for the most children born in a single delivery that survived.
There have been two sets of nonuplets registered, one born to an Australian mother in 1971 and another to a Malaysian woman in 1999, but neither set of babies lasted more than a few days.
Nadya Suleman’s octuplets have grown to be 12 years old, breaking the world record. They were born by in vitro fertilization.
What Causes a Multiple Pregnancy?
Such births are very rare to occur naturally; most commonly, they are the product of fertility therapy, but we do not know whether this happened in Ms. Cissé’s situation. However, gynecologist Bill Kalumi of Kenya’s Kenyatta National Hospital says that they only occur in this situation.
Fertility therapy has been used for several reasons. According to Dr. Kalumi, fertility drugs are most commonly used in Africa when a woman discontinues a hormonal form of contraceptive because she might find it challenging to ovulate again.
Rather than just one, the tubes would release several eggs during a woman’s menstrual cycle because of this. Multiple births are risky for both the mother and the child. In countries where abortion is legal, they usually urge a woman who is discovered to be bearing over four fetuses to minimize that number.
Most pregnancies with a significant number of infants, such as Ms. Cissé’s, end prematurely. Premature infants, those delivered before 37 weeks, are at risk of experiencing complications because their lungs are fragile. They are susceptible to infections, such as sepsis, because of their weakened immune system. Longer-term infants born in multiples are more likely to inherit cerebral palsy, a motor disorder.