Earlier this week, 73-year-old Erramatti Mangayamma became the ‘world’s oldest mother’ by giving birth to twins.
Doctors described the twin girls as a ‘medical miracle’. They were delivered after Erramatti and her husband successfully underwent IVF treatment to conceive.
Sadly, Erramatti’s husband, 82-year-old Sitarama Rajarao, suffered a stroke just a day after the birth of the twin girls.
Speaking to BBC Telugu just hours after the birth, Sitarama Rajarao said he and his wife were ‘incredibly happy’.
The next day, Rajarao suffered a stroke, and is currently being treated in hospital.
When asked who would care for the children in case anything happened to the parents due to their advanced age, the 82-year-old father said: ‘Nothing is in our hands. Whatever should happen will happen. It is all in the hands of God.’
It is due to the grace of God and doctors that I have now become a proud father of two baby girls. God has answered our prayers. This is the happiest time of my life.
The twin girls were delivered via caesarean section at Ahalya Hospital, in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh on Thursday, September 5. Erramatti was taken to intensive care for monitoring after the delivery, though doctors said she is ‘safe and healthy’.
Explaining the procedure, which had to be done via IVF due to the couple’s advanced age, Doctor Umasankar, from Ahalya Hospital, said:
As she is old, she cannot release eggs so we got eggs from a donor and collected sperm from her husband.
Luckily, she conceived in the first cycle itself and she was found to be pregnant this January.
It was smooth, as there were no health complications. Each baby is weighing approximately 2kgs and both the babies are healthy.
I don’t think she will have any major health issues in the post-delivery period.
However, she cannot breast-feed the babies. But no worries. We can feed the babies with milk obtained from the milk bank.
The birth of the twin girls has raised questions over whether doctors should provide IVF treatment over a certain age, particularly in India where the practice is not strictly regulated.
Erramatti and Rajarao have been married since 1962, but have never been able to conceive a child. According to Erramatti, other women in her village would call her ‘a childless lady’, and felt stigmatised because of it.
The pair had almost given up hoping of conceiving a child, but when a neighbour became pregnant using IVF at age 55, they consulted a doctor and decided to try it themselves.
According to MailOnline, an increasing fertility market in India has seen around 2,000 unregulated clinics open over the past few years. Authorities are said to be considering an upper age limit for IVF treatment.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.