While many women over the age of 40 are having children, the natural ability to become pregnant begins a steep decline around age 37, reaching odds of less than 10% by age 40, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. By the age of 50, the chances of falling pregnant with even just one baby is put at 1% – almost zero, and having triplets is almost unheard of!
According to a news report, a 54-year-old woman gave birth to triplets – all boys – in Nigeria earlier this week. The news of the triplets born to Funmi Ajagbe was shared by her friend Odunayo Olupona on Facebook, who posted a picture of her heavily-pregnant friend before the birth. She was obviously thrilled and couldn’t wait to tell everyone about this amazing feat, attributing the birth of the babies as a miracle from God. In the post, she suggests that her friend had a long struggle to conceive. She says, “Is there anything too hard for God to do?”
Odunayo’s post was welcomed by her followers, who were all overjoyed by the “miracle” and wished the mom well.
Briefly also reported that another Nigerian woman, Oby Evelyn, recently gave birth to a set of triplets after 14 years of marriage and trying to conceive.
According to a BBC report, “it’s a curious, but it’s also a little-known fact that the rate of multiple births in West Africa is about four times higher than in the rest of the world.”
The report highlights that in Nigeria, multiple births are celebrated and have, over the generations, been regarded as special gifts from God. Twins, which are very common, especially in the south western part of the country, are seen as a blessing, with many pregnant women wishing for multiple births.
Research into multiple births carried out at Lagos’s University Teaching Hospital has suggested that a yam-like plant with a tuber root eaten by many Nigerian women as part of their staple diet could account for the high level of multiple births. The plant contains high levels of oestrogen that’s said to stimulate egg production, although there’s no scientific evidence to prove this results in multiple births.
Ekujumi Olarenwaju, an obstetrician gynaecologist based in Lagos, who was interviewed for the report, believes the causes of the phenomenon lie elsewhere because the same kind of yam is eaten elsewhere in the world without the same result.
“Thus far, scientifically, no one can say this is the reason,” he said. “One of the plausible reasons is the hereditary aspect of it… they now have that gene being pooled and concentrated in that environment,” he said.
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