The oldest woman to give birth in Africa
On November 29, 2023, at Women’s Hospital International and Fertility Centre (WHI&FC) in Uganda, Safina Namukwaya welcomed twins, a son and a daughter.
On 6 January, the mother of three brought her son and daughter home for the first time. She reportedly named her daughter Shakira Babiyre Nabagala and her son Kato Shafique Kangave.
Dr Edward Tamale Sali – a fertility specialist at the hospital – told the outlet that Ms Namukwaya is a ‘loving’ and ‘playful’ mother, adding: ‘She can’t stop staring at them.’
‘….but gems of hope’
‘At 70, Safina Namukwaya’s maternal love blossoms into a miracle, cradling twins alongside Dr Edward Tamale-Sali,’ photos shared on the hospital’s Facebook page were captioned.
‘Their hands hold not just babies, but gems of hope, proving that a mother’s love transcends time and age.
‘In this emblematic moment at Women’s Hospital International and Fertility Centre, the joy of motherhood shines unblemished, echoing the resilient spirit of Africa where every dream is nurtured with love and care.’
When the twins were born on 29 November, local Ugandan outlet NTV Uganda announced: ‘Mother and babies are all well,’ saying that both of the twins weighed 3 lbs, 7 oz. They reportedly now weigh more than 5 pounds each.
The hospital congratulated her, saying it is more than a ‘medical success; it’s about the strength and resilience of the human spirit,’ the BBC reported.
How her strength was tested during pregnancy
Ms Namukwaya admitted to the outlet that her geriatric pregnancy was far from easy, saying: ‘There was a time I felt very sick because of the pregnancy. I spent nearly all my savings. Then I went to a hospital and talked to the doctor about my condition.’
Dr Sali explained to the outlet that Ms Namukwaya used a donor egg and her partner’s sperm for the in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) procedure.
He added that the twins were born 31 weeks premature and had to be placed in an incubator. Before giving birth to her twins, she previously gave birth at age 66 in 2020 to a daughter, who is now three years old.
What is the age limit for IVF?
The age limit for in-vitro fertilization (IVF) and other medically assisted reproduction in the US is generally mid-50s, and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) generally discourages embryo transfer ‘in women over age 55’.