A South African woman is reported to have given birth to 10 babies in a single delivery, news that would see her break a world record set just last month by a mother in Mali if confirmed.
Gosiame Thamara Sithole, 37, said she had already been “shocked” after doctors told her she was expecting eight babies following an ultrasound.
So the Gauteng province resident was even more surprised when she ended up having 10 babies – two of which were missed during the scans, Pretoria News reported.
It comes a month after Malian mother Halima Cisse gave birth to nonuplets in a hospital in Morocco. Ms Cisse’s antenatal scans had also missed two infants, meaning she had expected seven babies.
The South African births have yet to be confirmed by either the government or Guinness World Records, though the latter said it was aware of the news and investigating.
A spokesperson told the New York Post that they wished the new mother well and that her medical needs came first. “Our records team alongside a specialist consultant are looking into this,” they said.
Ms Sithole, who is already a mother to six-year-old twins, said she is now seeking funding to raise her one dozen children. She told Pretoria News she would be unable to return to work as a shop manager.
"It’s seven boys and three girls. She was seven months and seven days pregnant. I am happy. I am emotional," her husband, Teboho Tsotets said.
Ms Sithole has said her babies were naturally conceived and she did not receive any fertility treatment. Multiple births tend to be more common after treatments like IVF.
During her pregnancy, she said initial scans showed she was expecting six children before the number was revised upwards to eight.
She said she had to look up on the internet whether it was possible for women to deliver that many children.
“I didn’t believe it. I doubted it,” she said. “I was convinced that if it was more [than one], it would be twins or triplets, not more than that. When the doctor told me, I took time to believe it.”
Ms Sithole said she was worried about the health of her children during the pregnancy, that she experienced a lot of pain in her legs and suffered heartburn, while she struggled to sleep at nights.
She said she was forced to take unpaid leave from work just two months into her pregnancy and had exhausted her savings. As well as appealing for financial support she called on local volunteers to help out.
“I appeal to the public to help me in whatever way they can. Anybody who has anything I would appreciate it. I am relying on my mother-in-law now,” she said. “I will also need people who can volunteer to help me raise the children – helpers.”
The father of the children, who is currently unemployed, said he was overjoyed by the birth of the children. He said it “felt like [they are] God’s chosen children”.