Monday, 17 August 2009

Tunisian duodecaplets

Today's Sun has an article which claims that a Tunisian woman is pregnant with 12 kids.

Leaving aside the complete lack of detail in the story: it quotes "local reports", no names are provided and is nothing more than a mishmash of heresay and rumours, there are reasons to doubt it on a scientific basis, which are alluded to in the article.

It would be an extraordinary event: the odds on it occurring are in the region of 1:80^11, i.e. it would happen once every 80*80*80*80*80*80*80*80*80*80*80 times, so once in every 858,993,459,200,000,000,000 live births.

Assuming that she actually is pregnant with 12 foetuses, it's very unlikely that she will give birth to such a high number. The record number for a multiple birth is 9 babies, which according to Wikipedia, has been achieved on three separate occasions.

In any event, as with all multiple births, there are numerous risks, of which the obvious ones are low birth-weight and premature delivery, the risks of which will increase the more babies there are.

UPDATE (19/08/09): According to the Torygraph, it's fake. The "mother" has refused medical tests and gone into hiding.

UPDATE (20/08/09): The Sun now admits it's a fraud.

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