Pushing the Limits: Woman Gives Birth to 9 Babies

She might break the record for giving birth to the highest recorded number of babies at once.
Fabienne Lang
Some of the newbornsMali Ministry of Health

On Tuesday, May 4 a woman from Mali gave birth to nine babies in one go, after she had only been expecting seven. 

Mali's Health Ministry announced the joyous, and incredible news in a statement (in French) in which the country's health minister explained the 25-year-old mother, Halima Cisse, had been flown to Morocco for specialist care, and for the delivery. 

The nonuplets consist of five girls and four boys, two more in total than doctors had detected in scans in both Mali and Morocco. Cisse had to give birth prematurely by cesarian section, at 30 weeks, reported ABCNews, but she and her babies are currently in a healthy condition. 

This looks to be the first recorded birth of nine babies at once who survived. Two sets of nonuplets have previously been recorded, one in Australia in 1971, and one in Malaysia in 1999, as the BBC reports. However, sadly none of the babies lived longer than a few days.

So far, the Guinness World Record for giving birth to the most reported babies born in one go has gone to Nadya Suleman in the U.S. in 2009, who gave birth to eight babies after having received In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) treatment. Cisse's births might claim this title soon. 

You might be surprised to find out that a number of very interesting births have happened across the centuries. More recently, a woman gave birth to the first recorded baby to have COVID-19 antibodies.

Record-breaking births

As far as the Guinness World Records tell us, record-breaking births of all sorts have been recorded around the world.

For instance, a woman in Russia officially had highest total number of children in the late 1700s — she apparently gave birth to 87 children over the span of her lifetime, and two marriages. You could create your own village what that number of kids.

Linked to Suleyman's births in the U.S., the first successful and recorded IVF medical intervention happened in the U.K. in 1977. 

Defying age, the oldest recorded woman to give birth to twins was 66-year-old Maria del Carmen Bousada Lara in Spain in 2006. In an interesting turn, the oldest woman to give birth to her grandchildren, acting as a surrogate for her daughter, was 56-year-old Jacilyn Dalenberg in 2008. 

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And the list goes on. 

In Cisse's case, it's not very common for someone to fall pregnant naturally with so many babies. Typically, like in Suleyman's case, medical intervention like IVF would lead to so many babies.

However, it isn't clear how Cisse became pregnant with so many babies. One potential reason, the BBC points out, could be that Cisse took fertility drugs, not uncommon around the world, which leads a woman to release more than one egg in one go, all of which can then become fertilized.

It's truly fascinating to learn about all of these different, and wonderful pregnancies, and births, and we certainly hope the new mother of nine, Cisse, has a healthy and smooth recovery and future. Although, we shudder to think of all those nighttime feeds and nappy changes.