A 34 year old Tunisian woman recently got the whole planet expecting the last wonder of the world when she told the press that her pregnancy, which has just been proved to have been mentally induced, would bear her 12 children. The Tunisian Ministry of Health on Thursday sent hopes of this seventh wonder tumbling after they announced that it was a phantom pregnancy, but news of the young woman’s extraordinary pregnancy had already reached millions of people around the world.
It was only a phantom pregnancy. Tuesday, the very reliable Tunisian Arabic daily, Assabah, reported that a Tunisian woman was expecting 12 children: 6 girls and 6 boys. If true, it would smash the world record of the number of foetuses carried by a woman. Experts fascinated by the news were unanimous in their analyses; not all the foetuses would survive. In only a matter of hours, several international newspapers had picked up the scoop.
In the same manner, the unprecedented nature of information in a country with a strict child control policy, led the Tunisian Ministry of Health to take a particular interest in the parturient mother from Gafsa, located 400 km south of the capital, Tunis. But the 34-year-old teacher refused to undergo medical examinations. Thursday, an ambulance was dispatched to fetch the nine month pregnant woman.
Twelve non-existent babies
No more had she been admitted to the hospital than health authorities, who wanted to take exceptional care of the pregnancy, realised it was a hoax. “Our staff has interviewed her at length and her pregnancy appears to be straight out of her imagination. She claims to be nine months pregnant with six boys and six girls, but there is nothing physical to prove such a state,” said the spokesman of the Ministry of Health.
Given that it is a phantom pregnancy, the patient shows all signs of a real pregnancy although it is not. Any family involvement in the whole affair has been difficult to establish. The woman’s husband had told the press that his wife looked “forward to seeing all the twelve (babies) wriggle healthily in his hands.” But some have accused the family of wanting to take advantage of the situation, by trying to squeeze money out people who wished to interview her.