Earlier this week, a woman in South Africa made headlines after claiming to give birth to ten babies at the same time, breaking a world record.
But a relative now says the babies are fighting for their lives in hospital, after being born at only twenty-nine weeks.
On Monday, 10 babies were born from one mother, potentially breaking the world record.
It was reported the babies were born at twenty-nine weeks, meaning they were very premature and are now currently fighting for their lives at a hospital in South Africa.
The infant's aunt, who is yet to be publicly identified, has said that mother Gosiame Sithole is also still recovering from the birth. It is said she gave birth to 5 naturally before going under Cesarean section for the birth of the final 5.
"[The babies] are still in incubators fighting for their lives. They came at twenty-nine weeks; the mother is still weak... This is a sensitive issue," the woman told TimesLIVE.
Whilst mother and babies continue to recover at Pretoria hospital, unemployed father Tebogo Tsotetsi flew to Cape Town on Wednesday to accept a ?50,000 donation for the children's care while insisting the world will get to see them "at the right time".
There is still doubt however over the authenticity of the birth as many feel it is impossible for the mother to get pregnant with ten babies naturally.
Husband Tsotetsi claims the decuplets, which have been identified as 7 boys and 3 girls, were the result of a natural conception, however, some believe this result can only be achieved as the result of fertility treatments.
A number of relatives have also come forward insisting the birth was done completely naturally.
However, it has come to light that local officials say they have no record of the delivery taking place at any hospital in Gauteng state, where Pretoria is located. It is also believed that no doctor has come forward to verify the delivery and we are yet to see photos of the babies, which the family is apparently keeping private due to cultural and religious reasons.
If her claims are true, mother Gosiame Sithole, thirty-seven, has broken the record set by Halima Cisse of Mali, who gave birth to 9 babies in Morroco in May.
Do we know whether the woman giving birth to 10 babies story is actually true? I've seen it reported so many places but they all seem to be based on one news agency story which is quite light on details— Robyn Vinter (@RobynVinter) June 9, 2021
The feat is yet to be confirmed by Guinness World Records.
Sithole claims the pregnancy happened when doctors said she was to be having sextuplets but managed to miss 4 children from the scan. The mother, who originally hails from the township of Thembisa in the City of Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality, is a retail store manager who already has two twins aged 6.
The mother claimed the pregnancy was extremely tough, leaving her incredibly sick, with leg pain and severe heartburn.
Tsotetsi said while his wife was exhausted following the birth, she has been recovering well and even managed to get out of bed and have a short walk on Wednesday.
Nonetheless, to date, no definitive account of the pregnancy or birth has been published. But Feziwe Ndwayana, a spokesman for the Department of Social Development, said yesterday that she cannot confirm the birth of ten children because nobody has been in contact with Sithole recently. They even confirmed a social worker had been sent to the family home to try to confirm the authenticity of the delivery.
Children from such extreme multiple pregnancies are almost always born underweight and malnourished as the mother's body struggles to provide nutrients to the infants.
This is a developing story and updates will be posted accordingly.