A woman in Afghanistan has given birth to sextuplets at a hospital in the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif, according to reports.
The mother, a 24-year-old woman named Sharah, according to BBC, reportedly arrived at the hospital on Monday from a remote village in the Balkh province and produced three boys and three girls on the same day.
Doctors said that the woman thought she was only carrying one child and was not undergoing fertility treatments. It was the woman’s first pregnancy. Having so many children without such treatments is extremely rare, according to physicians.
Mirwais Rabi, provincial health director, told BBC that all six infants are doing well, but they are underweight, with one only weighing 25 ounces. The babies are kept inside incubators under the watchful eye of a team of doctors and nurses.
Sharah, who is reportedly in good health, has become a cause célèbre of sorts in Afghanistan.
One Afghan told media: [the mother] is brave, she is amazing. I don't know how she carried six children. The government should help her now.
However, Reuters described the mother’s name as Sara Gul and her age as 22. Moreover, the news agency said she knew she was carrying a large number of babies and tried to abort them.
I even jumped from a wall but nothing happened to them, Gul told Reuters.
Her husband, 27 year-old Shukrullah who is jobless, told Reuters: Allah blessed me with six children, but I am worried about their future.
Maternal and infant mortality rates in Afghanistan are amongst the highest in the world – however, they have been decreasing in recent years.
A 2010 study by the United Nations indicated that the maternal mortality rate in the country is less than 500 deaths per 100,000 live births, dramatically lower than the 1,800 deaths recorded in a 2005 study.
Infant mortality rates (for children under five years) is also in decline – down from 97 deaths per 1,000 child births in 2005 to about 77 deaths in 2010.