February 22, 2024

The oldest mother in Africa is single and broke

A 70-year-old Ugandan woman has given birth to twins after receiving IVF treatment. Safina Namukwaya delivered a boy and a girl via caesarean in the capital, Kampala. She is Africa’s oldest mother and one of the oldest women ever to give birth.

The hospital congratulated her, saying it is more than a “medical success; it’s about the strength and resilience of the human spirit”.

Dr Edward Tamale Sali, a fertility specialist at the Women’s Hospital International and Fertility Centre (WHI&FC), told BBC the mother used a donor egg and her partner’s sperm. The babies were born prematurely at 31 weeks.

Ms Namukwaya is not a wealthy woman and could barely afford transport to the clinic. It is her second baby in three years. Her partner abandoned her after he learned that she was expecting twins.

“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 showed up. Dr Sali has provided for everything as though he is the father of the children,” she said.

She told the Daily Monitor, a Kampala newspaper, that she had been mocked for being childless. “I cared for other people’s children and I would see them grow and leave me alone. I wondered who would care for me when I grow old. One time, a very young boy got a misunderstanding and mocked me, saying I had been cursed by my mother to die without a child,” she said.

Will she be able to care for the babies? “I really don’t know, God is in charge,” she said. “You see, you can have one child and feel overwhelmed but here I am with twins at a time when I am weak, a time I am unable to go to my garden to grow food for sale, I don’t know! But they say every child comes with their blessings.”