The Gauteng Provincial Government in South Africa (SA) has said there is no record indicating a new mother gave birth to ten babies in one of its medical facilities as had widely been reported in media globally.
Thabo Masebe, the spokesperson of the provincial government, said in a press statement recently that the administration has checked records from all hospitals in the province – both public and private – and that none of the facilities recorded ten one-go births.
Last Tuesday, South African media outlet IOL reported that Gosiame Thamara Sithole, a 37-year-old resident of Tembisa East in Gauteng, gave birth to seven sons and three daughters via caesarean section at a hospital in Pretoria.
IOL quoted Sithole’s husband, Teboho Tsotetsi, saying his wife had previously given birth to twins, now aged six.
The Gauteng Provincial Government, however, refutes the claim – that Sithole gave birth to ten babies in one go at one of its hospitals.
“Following reports from the Independent Media Group about a Gauteng woman having given birth to decuplets on Monday, June 7, 2021, the Gauteng Provincial Government conducted a thorough check with all hospitals in the province to establish the veracity or otherwise of the report. None of the hospitals in the province, public and private, have any records of such a delivery in their facilities,” said Masebe, the administration’s spokesperson.
Masebe’s remarks echo comments made on Wednesday, June 9 by Phumla Williams, the Director-General of the South African Government Communication and Information System (GCIS).
“[The] Government has been unable to verify the authenticity of this birth at our facilities,” Williams told News 24.
Later that day, Williams challenged news outlet IOL to reveal the exact hospital where the said-birth happened.
“We have spent a better part of today tracing the story of @IOL of a woman having given birth to 10 babies! @IOL can you please help the public [know] where this birth happened!” she tweeted.
If true that Sithole gave birth to ten babies in one delivery, then Sithole would break the Guinness World Record held by Malian Halima Cissé, who gave birth to nine children in Morocco in May, 2021.
A representative of Guinness World Records told The New York Post on Tuesday that they were yet to verify the authenticity of reports that Sithole gave birth to ten babies.
“Guinness World Records is aware of the news that Gosiame Thamara Sithole has given birth to decuplets, and we send our congratulations and best wishes to the family,” the spokesperson for the records listing told the news outlet.
“At the current time, we are yet to verify this as a record as the wellbeing of both the mother and babies is of top priority. Our records team alongside a specialist consultant are looking into this,” the spokesperson said.
IOL reported that Sithole was delivered of the decuplets – two more than doctors had earlier detected during the medical scans – at a hospital in Pretoria on Monday night, June 7.
Record for most babies in one birth
On May 4, 2021, a 25-year-old Malian woman gave birth to nine babies – two more than doctors had detected during scans.
Halima Cissé gave birth to the nonuplets (five girls and four boys) in Morocco. The Malian Government flew her to the north African nation for specialist care.
“I’m very happy,” her husband told The BBC. “My wife and the babies are doing well.”
Prior to Cissé’s delivery, a woman who had eight babies in the US in 2009, held the Guinness World Record for the most children delivered at a single birth to survive.
Two sets of nonuplets (nine babies) have previously been recorded – one born to a woman in Australia in 1971 and another to a woman in Malaysia in 1999 – but none of the babies survived more than a few days, The BBC reports.
The eight children of US citizen Nadya Suleman, who held the world record before Cissé, have grown up, and are now 12 years old. She conceived them through in vitro fertilisation.
For Cissé, doctors in Mali had been concerned for her welfare and the chances of the babies’ survival. As a result, the government intervened by referring her to Morocco.
After a two-week stay in a hospital in Mali’s capital, Bamako, a decision was made to move Cissé to Morocco on March 30.
After five weeks at the Ain Borja clinic in Casablanca, Morocco, she gave birth by Caesarean section on May 4, Mali’s Health minister Fanta Siby said.
Prof Youssef Alaoui, a medical director of the facility where Cissé gave birth, told AFP news agency that the 25-year-old was 25 weeks pregnant when admitted, and his team had managed to extend her term to 30 weeks.
“The babies weighed between 500g and 1kg and would be kept in incubators ‘for two to three months’,” he said at the time.