Woman from Mali gives birth to 9 babies in Morocco

A Moroccan nurse takes care of one of the nine babies protected in an incubator at the maternity ward of the private clinic of Ain Borja in Casablanca, Morocco, Wednesday, May 5, 2021. A Malian woman gave birth to nine babies after n ' to have waited only seven, announced Wednesday the Ministry of Health of Mali. . Halima CissÈ, 25, gave birth by caesarean section Tuesday in Morocco after being sent there for special care, the ministry said. (AP Photo / Abdeljalil Bounhar) [May-05-2021]

(Abdeljalil Bounhar, AP Photo)


8 photos

BAMAKO, Mali (AP) — A Malian woman has given birth to nine babies at once — after expecting seven, according to Mali's Minister of Health and the Moroccan clinic where the nonuplets were born.

It appeared to be the first time on record that a woman had given birth to nine surviving babies at once.

The five girls and four boys, and their mother, "are all doing well," Mali's health minister said in a statement.

The mother, 25-year-old Halima Cisse, gave birth to the babies by cesarean section on Tuesday in Morocco after being sent there for special care, Mali's top health official announced.

Associated Press reporters saw some of the babies wiggling their hands and feet inside incubators Wednesday in the private Ain Borja clinic in Casablanca. Medical staff checked their status regularly in the neonatal ward wallpapered with cartoon characters.

A general view of the premature infant ward where the nine babies are at the maternity ward of the private clinic of Ain Borja in Casablanca, Morocco, on Wednesday, May 5, 2021. A Malian woman gave birth to nine babies.
A general view of the premature infant ward where the nine babies are at the maternity ward of the private clinic of Ain Borja in Casablanca, Morocco, on Wednesday, May 5, 2021. A Malian woman gave birth to nine babies. (Photo: Abdeljalil Bounhar, AP Photo)

Cisse had been expecting seven babies. Malian doctors, under government orders, sent her to Morocco for the births because hospitals in Mali, one of the world's poorest countries, are ill-equipped to provide adequate care for this exceptional multiple pregnancy.

The Casablanca clinic's director Youssef Alaoui told Moroccan state TV that they had been contacted by Malian doctors about the case a month and a half ago. They were not expecting nine babies, he said.

Cisse gave birth prematurely at 30 weeks and is now in stable condition after heavy bleeding for which she was given a blood transfusion, he said.

The cesarean was ordered after Cisse had "birth pains," Alaoui, the clinic director, said. The babies weigh between 1.1 and 2.2 pounds.

The Guinness Book of World Records said in an email to The AP on Wednesday that its current record for most living births at once is eight, and that it is verifying the Morocco birth.

The current holder of the Guinness record is American Nadya Suleman, who gave birth to eight premature but otherwise healthy children in 2009.

Surgeons Doctor Yazid, left, listens to the clinic's director Youssef Alaoui as they speak to the media on the conditions of childbirth at the maternity ward of the private clinic of Ain Borja in Casablanca, Morocco, on Wednesday, May 5, 2021.
Surgeons Doctor Yazid, left, listens to the clinic's director Youssef Alaoui as they speak to the media on the conditions of childbirth at the maternity ward of the private clinic of Ain Borja in Casablanca, Morocco, on Wednesday, May 5, 2021. (Photo: Abdeljalil Bounhar, AP Photo)

Alaoui, the clinic director, told The AP that as far as he was aware Cisse had not used fertility treatments. The Malian health ministry did not provide any other information about the pregnancy or births.

Yacoub Khalaf, a professor of reproductive medicine at King's College London, said that such births would be extraordinarily unlikely without fertility treatment, and noted the dangers involved with such multiple births.

The mother "was at severe risk of losing her uterus or losing her life," he said. The babies "could suffer physical and mental handicaps. The risk of cerebral palsy is astronomically higher."

He urged more awareness worldwide about monitoring fertility treatments and about the risks and costs of having so many premature babies at one time.

El Barakah reported from Rabat, Morocco. Angela Charlton in Paris contributed.

Copyright © 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Photos

Baba Ahmed
    Tarik El Barakah

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