Ugandan woman Safina Namukwaya, aged 70, who made headlines as one of the world’s oldest new mothers for giving birth to a boy and girl through C-section, has now returned home with the miracle babies.
The Women’s Hospital International and Fertility Center in Kampala, where Namukwaya received in-vitro fertilization treatment, referred to the event as a miracle at 70. The hospital shared photos of a joyful Namukwaya and her newborns as she embraced motherhood in her later years.
“At the age of 70, Namukwaya experienced the blossoming of maternal love as she cradles twins alongside Dr. Edward Tamale-Sali,” the hospital’s Facebook page posted. “Their hands hold not just babies, but gems of hope, proving that a mother’s love transcends time and age.”
The delighted Namukwaya, in a heartwarming moment, is photographed holding one of her newborns, while Dr. Edward Tamale-Sali proudly presents the other. According to Tamale-Sali, Namukwaya is captivated by her twins and is described as a loving and playful mother to Shakira Babiyre Nabagala and Kato Shafique Kangave.
It was revealed that in her village, Namukwaya will be known as Nalongo, signifying the mother of twins. At the same time, her husband, Walusimbi Badru, will be referred to as Salongo, representing the father of twins.
Before giving birth to her first child three years ago, Namukwaya faced social stigma in her village, where she was labeled a “cursed woman” due to her struggle with infertility, according to the New York Post.
Speaking at a news conference outside the hospital on Saturday, Tamale-Sali mentioned that Namukwaya was active the same day she delivered the twins. In a light-hearted remark, he joked that she is now “almost playing football”.
“She’s fit, her blood pressure is normal, she’s not diabetic — she’s a very healthy woman and the whole of Africa is rejoicing for her,” he indicated. “If you want another child, we’re here,” the doc quipped at Naumukwaya, light-heartedly.
The pediatrician, Dr. Gloria Lunyolo, referred to Namukwaya’s twins as “miracle babies.” She disclosed that the infants are fed a combination of formula and breast milk. Despite the recent birth, Namukwaya, who also has a 3-year-old daughter, expressed feeling “great” in an interview with TODAY.com just two days after giving birth.
“Some might argue that 70 years is old, but God decided that I get to have twins at 70. There is no one that can put a limit on God’s authority and power,” she said.
Namukwaya said due to her advanced age, she would rely on her household to assist her with tasks like washing and caring for the babies. She added that the difficulty of pregnancy at her age meant that she felt very sick at times.
Due to her old age, Namukwaya and her husband used donor eggs and his sperm for conception. The infants were born prematurely at 31 weeks and required placement in incubators.
The American Society for Reproductive Medicine discourages embryo transfer in women over the age of 55. Dr. Brian Levine, a practice director at a New York City fertility clinic, CCRM, considers impregnating a woman in her 70s as “irresponsible,” expressing concerns about the risks and challenges associated with advanced maternal age in pregnancy.
“Data shows that women who give birth over the age of 50 have elevated rates of hypertension, gestational diabetes and preterm labor,” Levine added.
“If a 70-year-old gets a blood clot, suffers a stroke, or has a heart attack, the kids will be developmentally and possibly physically delayed. And who is going to take care of these medically fragile kids when their parents die?” he said.
Despite the controversy, Tamale-Sali defended the decision to treat Namukwaya, explaining that it is her human right to pursue motherhood.
This isn’t the first time a woman beyond traditional child-bearing age attempted to become a mother. In 2019, a 73-year-old woman in southern India gave birth to twin girls through IVF care.