70-year-old woman becomes oldest African to give birth

A 70-year-old Ugandan woman, Safina Namukwaya has become the oldest African to give birth through In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) treatment as she delivered a set of twins after 40 years of waiting.

The woman delivered the twins on Wednesday at the Women’s Hospital International and Fertility Centre in the Ugandan capital of Kampala.

The hospital shared the news of the delivery via its Facebook page on Wednesday, stating, “70-year-old, Safina Namukwaya, speaking just before the delivery of her beautiful babies. Yes, she delivered twins, a boy and a girl. A historic achievement indeed.

As we honour this courageous mother and anticipate the healthy growth of her twins, we invite you to celebrate with us. This story isn’t just about medical success; it’s about the strength and resilience of the human spirit.”

IVF is a technique used to assist people with fertility issues in having babies.

During IVF, an egg is removed from the woman’s ovaries and fertilised with sperm under controlled laboratory conditions.

Thereafter, the fertilised egg, referred to as an embryo, is then returned to the woman’s womb to grow and develop.

Namukwaya told a privately owned NTV channel that it was her second delivery in three years after she gave birth to a girl in 2020.

The 70-year-old shared that she had experienced multiple difficulties during the pregnancy, including desertion by the children’s father.

She lamented, “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 shown up.”

Namukwaya said she did not know how she would manage to raise the children, but was happy to have them after years of enduring stigma and ridicule for being childless, the report stated.

One time, a very young boy heckled me saying I had been cursed by my mother to die without a child,” she recalled.

Namukwaya had revealed after the birth of her first child that she had been judged for not giving birth after 40 years of trying.

‘Many people judged and abused me for being barren but, I decided to leave everything to the Almighty God who has finally answered my prayers,’ she said shortly after the birth of her first daughter in 2020. 

While Ms Namukway’s case is a rare one, it’s not the first time a woman has given birth at a more advanced age.

In 2019, Erramatti Mangayamma, from India, gave birth to twins through IVF at the age of 74 – becoming the world’s oldest mother.

Mangayamma, of Andhra Pradesh state, gave birth to two healthy baby girls with her husband of 57 years, Sitarama Rajarao at her side.

✍️ Temitope Hassan