Halima Cissé never intended to set a Guinness World Record. Unlike some people who plan their record-breaking attempts for years, Cissé and her husband, Abdelkader Arby, made their way into the record books completely by accident – but in a truly amazing way.
On May 4, 2021, 25-year-old Halima Cissé gave birth to nonuplets – five girls and four boys – setting the record for most surviving children from a single delivery. Incredibly, all nine babies were born healthy, despite being delivered by Caesarean section at 30 weeks and ranging in weight from 1.1 pounds to 2.2 pounds (500g to 1 kg). A team of 32 medical personnel at the Ain Borja Clinic in Casablanca, Morocco, helped ensure that Muhammad, Bah, Elhadji, and Oumar (the boys) and Adama, Hawa, Fatouma, Oumou, and Kadidia (the girls) had a safe entry into the world. Their mother is also doing well, and apparently hasn’t ruled out future pregnancies despite requiring emergency surgery due to blood loss during their birth.
Though Cissé and her husband are from Mali, she was sent to Casablanca by the Malian government for specialist medical care when scans revealed Cissé was pregnant with seven babies – the fact that she was actually carrying nine would come as a surprise during the delivery.
Nine bundles of joy:
- The nine babies are now well into toddlerhood and are approaching their second birthday, though they only arrived home in Mali a few months ago. Though all were born healthy, they spent their first few months in incubators at the clinic where they were delivered. The clinic also provided ongoing care to the family in a nearby apartment in Casablanca until December 2022.
- There are two other known instances of nonuplets, but tragically, those babies did not survive.
- Perhaps the most amazing part of the story is that the nonuplets were conceived naturally. The previous record holder, Nadya Suleman (who became known in the media as “Octomom”), controversially conceived her octuplets (born in January 2009 in California) through IVF, after 12 embryos were implanted.