Mali woman gives birth to nonuplets

A Malian woman gave birth to nine babies earlier this week – two more than doctors had originally detected inside her womb.

According to ultrasounds conducted in Morocco and Mali, 25-year-old Halima Cisse was only expected to give birth to seven babies. Her children were delivered by C-section in Morocco on Tuesday. She has now joined a very exclusive club as the mother of nonuplets – five girls and four boys.

It goes without saying that nonuplets are extremely rare, and complications can often mean that the babies do not survive. In fact, there are only two sets of known nonuplets in the world. One born to an Australian woman in 1971, and another born to a Malaysian woman in 1999 – however none survived.

The first octuplets to all survive and grow up were born to a US woman in 2009. The eight babies were conceived through in vitro fertilisation (IVF), which can be a common cause of multiple births.

It’s no surprise that Ms Cisse’s pregnancy became a subject of fascination in the west African nation of Mali, even when it was believed that she was only carrying septuplets.

The pregnancy also attracted the attention of Mali’s leaders. In March, doctors agreed that Ms Cisse would require specialist care. Bah Ndaw, the country’s transitional leader asked for her to be flown to Morocco, where she stayed for five weeks before giving birth on Tuesday.

Fanta Siby, Mali’s health minister, congratulated the medical teams in both Mali and Morocco on the “happy outcome”. She also added that the mother and her new arrivals are doing well, and due to return home in several weeks’ time.

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