woman holding hands in shape of a heart over her pregnant belly

South African woman has reportedly given birth to 10 babies in Pretoria; family member now casts doubt

Many people marvel at the parents of twins and triplets, wondering how they manage. Now imagine getting 10 babies at once! A South African woman reportedly has broken the world record, giving birth to 10 babies. The mother, Gosiame Thamara Sithole, was surprised herself after giving birth in a hospital in Pretoria. Pregnancy scans showed only 8 fetuses in the womb. But she is delighted all the same.

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“It’s seven boys and three girls. I am happy. I am emotional,” said her husband Teboho Tsotetsi after the birth.

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Woman Gives Birth To 10 Babies At Once

Sithole delivered 5 of her newborns via Caesarean section and 5 via natural birth. (The parents already have 6-year-old twins.) She told Pretoria News that her pregnancy was natural, which is even more surprising. Often numerous fetuses come from in vitro fertilization. The couple was initially interviewed about a month before the birth, but the publication of this interview waited at the couple’s request for safety and cultural reasons.

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I am shocked by my pregnancy,” Sithole said during the interview. “I just pray for G-d to help me deliver all my children in a healthy condition, and for me and my children to come out alive.

via United Press International

At first, Sithole believed she was expecting six children. However, the doctors had overlooked two initially because they were in the wrong tube. Then the scans showed eight children. “I didn’t believe it. I was convinced that if it was more, it would be twins or triplets, not more than that,” she said.

Many pregnant women struggle to sleep but Sithole had that physical discomfort multiplied by 10 babies. Plus, she spent many exhausting nights worrying about them.  “How would they fit in the womb? Would they survive? …The doctor assured me that my womb was starting to expand inside. G-d made a miracle and my children stayed in the womb without any complications.

via BBC News

“I could not believe it, I felt like one of G-d’s chosen children. I felt blessed to be given these kinds of blessings when many people out there need children. It’s a miracle which I appreciate,” Tsotetsi said.

Keep Reading: After 16 Years; 18 Miscarriages, 48-Year-Old Mom Welcomed her ‘Miracle Baby’

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“People will see the babies at the right time

Many people doubt the legitimacy of a woman giving birth to 10 babies at once. Meanwhile, Guinness World Records and Snopes are still investigating Sithole’s case. However, BBC looked into the story, saying, “One South African official confirmed the births to the BBC, however, another said they were yet to see the babies.” Additionally, no photos of the babies or other forms of concrete proof have been made public yet.

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However, Tsotetsi addresses the skepticism, saying that the family wants to give the doctors space and privacy to care for the premature babies as they stay at the hospital in incubators. “It is a very unique situation. They are premature, they are still incubated. Very small as you can think – 10 children in one womb that normally carries one baby. They are very small, so the sensitivity that goes into that, even the doctors, they don’t want to risk that.” Nevertheless, he assures the public, “People will see the babies at the right time.”

Keep in mind that while multiple babies at once are rare, they still happen. In 2009, Nadya Suleman broke the world record for “Most children delivered at a single birth to survive” when she gave birth to six boys and two girls in California, USA. She conceived through in vitro fertilization. Additionally, Halima Cisse in Mali gave birth to nine babies at once in May 2021. These babies are still in incubators and hopefully, all will live to take Suleman’s record — unless Sithole’s reported 10 babies beat them to it.

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The New World Record?

However, a Tweet from the government of the province of Gauteng, where the birth occurred, casts doubt over the story. “Following reports from the Independent Media Group about a Gauteng woman having given birth to decuplets on Monday, 7 June 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.” [6]

GautengGov | Twitter
Image via GautengGov | Twitter

As a result, many people wait for concrete evidence before announcing the new world record of 10 babies at one birth.

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Update: Partner Casts Doubt

The partner of the woman who claimed to have 10 babies has said that they do not exist. A June 15th statement to Eye Witness News on behalf of Tebogo Tsotetsi said,

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“Tebogo confirmed that he has not seen the decuplets and relied on his girlfriend who called to inform him of their birth. He made several attempts to visit his girlfriend and the babies but she has failed to disclose her whereabouts and the condition of their babies. The current uncertainties and public discourse about the decuplets is of major concern to the family, especially in the absence of any proof of the decuplet’s existence other than telephonic and WhatsApp messages from the mother. The family has resolved and concluded that there are no decuplets born between Tebogo Tsotetsi and Gosiame Sithole, until proven otherwise, and wishes to apologise for any inconvenience and embarrassment.”

Sources

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  1. South African woman gives birth to decuplets.UPI. Ben Hooper. June 9, 2021
  2. “South African woman gives birth to 10 babies in Pretoria – reports.” BBC. June 9, 2021
  3. “A history of record-breaking births: From the heaviest baby to most prolific mother ever.” Guinness World Records. Connie Suggitt. April 28, 2021
  4. “Woman from Mali gives birth to 9 babies in Morocco.” ABC News. Baba Ahmed and Taril El Barakah. May 6, 2021
  5. “Did a South African Woman Give Birth to 10 Babies at Once?” Snopes. Dan MacGuill. June 10, 2021
  6. ‘THERE ARE NO DECUPLETS’ – FAMILY OF ‘FATHER’ TEBOGO TSOTETSI ISSUES STATEMENT. EWN. June 15, 2021.

Correction Notice (06/16/2021): The original title of this article has been changed to reflect newer information. The original title “South African woman has reportedly given birth to 10 babies in Pretoria” has been modified to “South African woman has reportedly given birth to 10 babies in Pretoria; family member now casts doubt” to reflect new statements from Gosiame Thamara Sithole‘s partner.

Editor’s Note (06/16/2021): The section “Update: Husband Casts Doubt” was added to update the current information pertaining to this story.

Sarah Biren
Freelance Writer
Sarah is a baker, cook, author, and blogger living in Toronto. She believes that food is the best method of healing and a classic way of bringing people together. In her spare time, Sarah does yoga, reads cookbooks, writes stories, and finds ways to make any type of food in her blender.
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