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Update: Story of South African woman giving birth to 10 babies an apparent hoax

"It's seven boys and three girls. She was seven months and seven days pregnant. I am happy. I am emotional," the woman's husband said.

Update: Story of South African woman giving birth to 10 babies an apparent hoax
Representative Cover Image Source: Getty Images/Jose Luis Pelaez Inc

Editor's note: This story, originally published on June 14, 2021, has now been proven false after an investigation by the provincial government of Gauteng, South Africa. Upworthy offers its sincerest apologies to our readers for the error. 

A woman in South Africa had reportedly given birth to 10 babies, possibly breaking the Guinness World Record set by Malian Halima Cissé, who gave birth to nine children in Morocco last month. Thirty-seven-year-old Gosiame Thamara Sithole was widely reported to have given birth to decuplets at a hospital in Pretoria earlier last week. Speaking to BBC, a family member who did not want to be identified had confirmed that Sithole delivered 10 babies, five via natural birth and 5 via cesarean section. Guinness World Records was said to be investigating the claim to award the record to the family if it is proven true.

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Speaking to Pretoria News after the decuplets were born, Sithole's husband Teboho Tsotetsi had said: "It’s seven boys and three girls. She was seven months and seven days pregnant. I am happy. I am emotional. I can’t talk much. Let’s talk again in the morning please." Although the couple spoke to the publication a month ago at their family home in Tembisa Township, Ekurhuleni, they reportedly asked that the publication of the interview be delayed due to safety and cultural reasons. Sithole admitted at the time that she was shocked and fascinated by the pregnancy.

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She had revealed that she was in a state of disbelief when the doctors told her earlier this year that she was expecting six children (sextuplets). However, reports said that further scans showed eight infants in the womb. "I am shocked by my pregnancy. It was tough at the beginning. I was sick. It was hard for me. It’s still tough but I am used to it now. I don’t feel the pain anymore, but it’s still a bit tough. I just pray for God to help me deliver all my children in a healthy condition, and for me and my children to come out alive. I would be pleased about it," Sithole said. 

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"I didn’t believe it. I doubted it. I was convinced that if it was more, it would be twins or triplets, not more than that. When the doctor told me, I took time to believe it. Even when I saw the scans I didn't believe it. But, as time went by, I realized it was indeed true. I battled to sleep at night though," she had said. The anxious mother-to-be added that she spent several sleepless nights worrying about her unborn children.

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"How would they fit in the womb? Would they survive? What if they came out conjoined at the head, in the stomachs or hands? Like, what would happen? I asked myself all these questions until the doctor assured me that my womb was starting to expand inside. God made a miracle and my children stayed in the womb without any complications," Sithole had said. Despite her difficult and unusual pregnancy, she said she was over the moon and looking forward to her children. "Initially there were six children. Only to find that the other two were in the wrong tube. My legs were painful. The doctors did further scans and they found the children were in the wrong tube," Sithole said in the prepartum interview. "That was sorted and I have been okay since then. I can’t wait for my children. We have already given them names."

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Professor Dini Mawela, the deputy head of the school of medicine at the Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, had said rare pregnancies like Sithole’s are usually caused by fertility treatments. The infants would spend the next few months in the incubator because it was a "high risk" pregnancy, she said. 

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However, this story that went viral is now suspected to be a hoax. South African authorities have said that they could not find evidence of a woman having given birth to 10 babies. The government of Gauging Province released an official statement on the matter on Twitter confirming that they could not find any record of Gosiame Thamara Sithole, 37, giving birth to decuplets, seven boys, and three girls, even after investigating hospitals in the city. The statement said, "None of the hospitals in the province, public and private, have any record of such a delivery in their facilities."

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