decuplets tembisa 10 nigerian doctor

Photo: Twitter/Lucky Star

Decuplets: 10 reasons why ‘World Record birth’ claims are sketchy as hell

No verification has emerged that ten babies were indeed born on Tuesday, and SA has been left with far more questions than answers.

decuplets tembisa 10 nigerian doctor

Photo: Twitter/Lucky Star

The story of a Gauteng woman who allegedly gave birth to 10 babies (decuplets) on Tuesday 8 June continues to leave more questions than answers, with the champagne reserved for a “National Baby Shower” left on ice while the remarkable claims remain unverified. 

Since the story broke, no images have been released of the mother or any of her supposed children. The hospital in which the sensational birth allegedly took place remains unknown, with details about the birth – and the medical team who would have been tasked with a milestone event – equally absent. 

Government was unable to verify the veracity of the claims made by The Pretoria News on Tuesday, with communications director Phumla Williams saying that she spent the better part of the day trying to track down the mother, her family, a hospital, or anyone else who might be able to verify the claims.

Decuplets claims in serious doubt  

Despite having reached out to the Gauteng Department of Health, as well as several hospitals in the Pretoria area, The South African was unable to receive any form of verification that the sensational birth took place. 

When we tried to contact the journalist who wrote the”exclusive” story on Tuesday, Pretoria News editor Piet Rampedi was unavailable for comment at the time of publication.

Medical expert Dr Randall Hammond – specialist obstetrician and gynaecologist from Grey’s Hospital in Pietermaritzburg – said that the likelihood of such a major medical milestone going unverified is highly unlikely.

He specifically cited the notion that a childbearing mother – especially under such extreme circumstances – being allowed to begin her labour in the comfort of her own home, is highly unusual. 

“With that order of babies, the mother generally wouldn’t even be a patient that would be at home – that patient would be admitted as an in-patient,” he said. “Beyond gestational age of 28-weeks,  the likelihood of of the babies survival increases, but that is nearly impossible [in this case].”

He said that the babies would “almost certainly” require neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) care. 

I can almost guarantee you that some form of neonatal support would be required, most likely NICU, as they not reached the gestational age for expected lung maturity. You cannot tell me that not one out of 10 babies required this kind of support.

Medical experts sceptical of details

Hammond said that a case like this would have been picked up by the South African medical fraternity long before the Gauteng woman went into labour.

“The thing is, although it’s rare, it [multiple pregnancies] does happen. Perhaps not so frequently in South Africa, but there are countries that [record such events] – with the introduction of artificial reproductive techniques or assistance – are highly likely to have high-order multiple pregnancies,” he said. 

Hammond said that because it’s a remarkable event that doesn’t happen often in SA – it would certainly spark public interest, if not the attention of the global medical fraternity.

“It would’ve most likely been reported that this woman has experienced such a unique phenomenon,” he said, adding that patients have a right to privacy so this might not have been reported ahead of time.

“It doesn’t make sense. It is a high-risk pregnancy for both mother and babies. The risk for complications that increase maternal morbidity and mortality are exponentially increased. And the risk of complications of prematurity, including death, are remarkably significant to the babies birthed.”

“She would surely have been followed up on, it wouldn’t have just been that she simply showed up when she went into labour,” he said. “Pregnancies with that number of babies inevitably end up with early preterm delivery.”