Move Over Octomom. Is there a Duodecaplets Mom?

By Tom Johnson

Aug 18, 2009 3:44pm

We’ve all heard of the Octomom from California but apparently she’s about to be upstaged as rumors are spreading like wildfire that a 30-something teacher in Tunisia is pregnant with 12 fetuses. Yes, twelve.

The woman has not been named but it is reported that she and her husband, also a teacher, had already suffered through two miscarriages and had turned to IVF treatment in desperation. The pair live near the town of Gasfa and have supposedly visited a hospital there.

The 12 babies, or duodecaplets, are said to be six boys and six girls. If true, this would indicate that the woman is at least 16 weeks pregnant as is required for determining the sexes. There is, however, a report that the woman is 9 months pregnant already.

This seems extremely unlikely. Several medical experts have said that it would be unlikely that she would even be able to carry the babies past 20 weeks before going into labor. Nonetheless the woman is apparently still pregnant and has reportedly told hospital workers that “all I [she] want to do is to be able to hug my babies and show them all my love”.

ABC News tried to clear the various rumors and confirm the story but was told by a man from Tunisia’s Health Minister’s cabinet  – and who did not wish to be identified – that “this story is made up” claiming that the woman may have “mental problems” or a “nervous pregnancy”.  He went on to claim that “the story was picked up by the regional press, which unfortunately did not take the time to verify it”.

And so it appears that newspapers and news-outlets across the world have also not stopped to verify the story. Despite the likelihood that this pregnancy doesn’t exist, the story has turned up in a number of places across the world including in Canada, Australia, the U.K. and the U.S. Some had even called on experts to provide details as to the likelihood of the pregnancy.

Peter Bowen-Simpkins of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists told the Daily Mail that he “wouldn’t even give her a one in 100 chance of even one surviving”. Ordinarily, parents in similar situations would be given the option to abort some of the fetuses in order to give the others a chance, otherwise known as selective reduction.

-Cornelia Treptow


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