There may be no such a thing as a ‘normal’ pregnancy, but out of the millions of children born each year, some are bound to garner more attention than others. We’ve taken a quick look at some of the most unusual cases around the world that have attracted both international media scrutiny and a multitude of contrasting opinions. These are some distinctly out-of-the-ordinary tales…
So-called ‘octomom’ Nadya Suleman became the first mother to successfully give birth to eight siblings in 2009, all of whom are still going strong. Having already raised six other children, Suleman – as well as the doctor who carried out the IVF on this case – faced intense scrutiny due to the medical risks and the fact that she was living on welfare support at the time. Whether or not you agree with their decision, there’s no denying the fact that Maliyah, Isaiah, Nariyah, Jonah, Makai, Josiah and Jeremiah are a simply adorable bunch. (1)
World’s Oldest Mother
Omkari Panwar was 70 years old when she gave birth to twins thanks to an IVF procedure in her native India. Despite already having two daughters, Omkari and her husband Charan were desperate to produce a male heir who could inherit their estate and benefit from a dowry when he married. (Apparently Downton Abbey-style policies are still alive and well…)
The couple were apparently nonplussed about their advanced years when bringing two new children into the world, and said they could now die happy knowing that their inheritance was secure. (2)
Twins Born Months Apart
Yet another multiple birth story – this time featuring a pair of twins who were born an astonishing 87 days apart, thanks to the four-month early arrival of one little girl, whilst the other, comfortable in her mother’s womb, decided to stayed put. Maria Jones-Elliot of Kilkenny, Ireland, went into labour on June 1st 2012 with little Amy, but despite being induced sister Katie didn’t appear until the 27th of August. Their birth certificates have separate dates on them – which at least means no lame combo gifts as they grow up! (3)
Born Together – But Not Twins
In a reversal of the Jones-Elliotts’ fate, American couple Julia and Todd Grovenburg welcomed their two babies into the world on the same day in December 2010 – however the youngsters were not in fact twins, because they were conceived almost two weeks apart. Thanks to a remarkably rare phenomenon called superfetation, Julia continued to ovulate once she was pregnant as she and her husband continued to try for a baby unaware that one was on the way.
Despite their differences in growth and development, babies Jillian and Hudson are happy, healthy, and members of the exclusive club of superfetation babies, only 11 other cases of which have ever been reported. (4)
Dad Gives Birth
Born Tracy Lehuanani LaGondino, transsexual male Thomas Beatie caused a worldwide sensation in 2008 when he revealed he was expecting a child with his wife Nancy Gillespie. As his partner was infertile, and Thomas had kept his female reproductive organs when transitioning, the logical decision seemed to be that he would carry their first (and subsequently second and third) child, who was born Susan Juliette Beatie in June 2008.
Speaking about the subject on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Beatie simply said – “I have a very stable male gender identity. I see pregnancy as a process, and it doesn’t define who I am. It’s not a male or female desire to want to have a child—it’s a human desire… I’m a person, and I have the right to have my own biological child.” (5)
She Had How Many Kids?
Last, but certainly not least, is the story of Feodor Vassilyev and his wife, known only as ‘Mrs. Vassilyev’, who lived in Russia in the 1700s. Octomom may have had eight children in one go, but Mrs. Vassilyev reportedly gave birth to 69 children over the course of her lifetime, including 16 pairs of twins, seven sets of triplets and four sets of quadruplets! Mr. Vassilyev also had a further 18 children with another wife, bringing his grand total to 87 offspring – quite the family reunion come Christmas time… (6)