A 25-year-old Malian woman has given birth to nine babies in what might be a new world record.
Halima Cissé gave birth to the nonuplets in Morocco this past week despite expecting to have seven newborns: Ultrasound sessions had failed to spot two of her babies.
The current world record for the number of live births is eight – a mark set by Nadya Suleman of California in 2009, according to Guinness World Records. But that feat also sparked controversy since she conceived the octuplets through in vitro fertilization. Suleman's eight children were delivered nine weeks premature, also by C-section.
A Guinness World Records representative told NPR that "we are yet to verify this as a record as the wellbeing of both the mother and babies are of top priority." The organization said it's looking into the possible new record, employing a specialist consultant for the case.
Two sets of nonuplets have previously been recorded - one born to a woman in Australia in 1971 and another to a woman in Malaysia in 1999 - but sadly none of the babies survived more than a few days.
"The newborns (five girls and four boys) and the mother are all doing well," Mali's health minister, Dr. Fanta Siby, said in an announcement about the births.
The babies were born in Morocco, where Cissé was taken for specialist care in late March. Her multiple-fetal pregnancy has been closely watched in Mali, where the government helped pay for her medical evacuation to Morocco.