….becomes the oldest woman to give birth in Africa
“I looked after people’s children and saw them grow up and leave me alone. I wondered who would take care of me when I grow old.”
ByOnu Stephen December 1, 2023 Reading Time: 2 mins read
A 70-year-old Ugandan woman, Safina Namukwaya, has delivered a set of twins following an IVF procedure at a hospital in Uganda, becoming the oldest woman to give birth in Africa, the BBC is reporting.
Mrs Namukwaya welcomed a twin; a boy and a girl, via caesarean on Wednesday at the Women’s Hospital International and Fertility Centre in Kampala, Uganda.
An IVF, the abbreviation for In-Vitro Fertilisation, is one of several fertility techniques, during the process an egg is removed from a woman’s ovaries and fertilised with sperm in a laboratory. The fertilised egg, called an embryo, is then put in a woman’s womb to grow and develop, and delivered after nine months.
According to the Women’s Hospital International and Fertility Centre (WHI&FC), Mrs Namukwaya is the oldest woman to become a mother in Africa. The hospital made this known in a statement posted on their official Facebook page.
The statement reads, “Celebrating our 20th anniversary, we’ve achieved the extraordinary – delivering twins to Africa’s oldest mother aged 70! This story isn’t just about medical success; it’s about the strength and resilience of the human spirit.”
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However, the specific details of the IVF procedure, including whether Mrs Namukwaya used a donor egg or an egg preserved from her youth, remain undisclosed.
This highlights that medical science has progressed significantly, allowing women to extend their fertility window and experience the joy of motherhood later in life; being able to conceive even beyond the typical age of menopause.
Beyond the triumph
Despite the medical triumph, Mrs Namukwaya shared the personal challenges she faced during her pregnancy.
Speaking to Uganda’s Daily Monitor she revealed that her partner abandoned her upon learning that she was pregnant with twins.
However, welcoming a set of twins marked her second delivery in three years, following the birth of a girl in 2020.
Mrs Namukwaya who reportedly lost her husband in 1992 before entering into another relationship four years later, expressed the difficulties of being a mother without the support of her partner.
Reflecting on her experience, she disclosed, “Men don’t like to be told that you are carrying more than one child. Ever since I was admitted here, my man has never showed up.”
“I looked after people’s children and saw them grow up and leave me alone. I wondered who would take care of me when I grow old,” she said.
Her story mirrors that of a 73-year-old Indian woman, Erramatti Mangamma, who currently holds the record for being the oldest living mother who gave birth at the age of 73 through in-vitro fertilisation via caesarean section in Andhra Pradesh, India.