Mariam Nabatanzi has been dubbed the world’s most fertile woman as by the age of 36, she has given birth to 44 children. However, falling pregnant has now come to a stop as the mum has now had medical help in preventing her from having further babies.
Due to a rare genetic condition, Mariam has given birth to 44 children by the age of 36. Yet the woman has suffered tragedy in recent years, as she has been left to raise her humongous family on her own as her husband walked out on them.
Having learnt more of her family’s past, Mariam was shocked to learn that her father had led a similar fate. Unbeknown to her, he had fathered 45 children with several women. With this new information, it has led to doctors preventing her from having further children.
Overall, Mariam has had three sets of quadruplets, four sets of triplets and a whopping six sets of twins. Amazingly, she has managed to provide and care for her children all by herself.
When she was just 12-years-old, the fertile woman was set to marry her husband, who at 40 was 28 years her senior.
Within a year, she had given birth to her first set of twins.
Mariam, from Uganda, now lives in severely cramped conditions with her large brood. The mum and her many kids live in four small homes that are made from cement bricks and corrugated iron roofing. Their home is surrounded by coffee fields.
In just one of the rooms, 12 of Mariam’s children sleep on metal bunk beds that have thin mattresses. Her other children share mattresses on the floor and some are forced to sleep in the dirt, as there is just not enough space.
To maintain order, Mariam insists that everyone contributes to the chores. Whilst the older kids look after the little ones, she has the kids doing cooking and cleaning.
When she was younger, Mariam went to seek birth control, such as the contraceptive pill, from her doctor. Yet her doctor explained that as she had such unusually large ovaries, this could cause further issues.
Taking on the advice, she went on to have further babies.
In a typical Ugandan family, families are usually large with women having on average around 5.6 children. Yet even by these standards, Mariam’s family has stood out.
By the age of 23, the woman had given birth to 25 children and she was beginning to feel desperate. She begged the doctors for help.
Yet once again, the mum was told that she should keep getting pregnant as her ovary count was extremely high.
Mariam’s last pregnancy ended in tragedy, she gave birth to her sixth set of twins and was heartbroken to find that one of the babies had died during labour.
To make matters even worse, her husband said he would be leaving for good. On previous occasions, he had left for weeks on end, but this was with a new finality.
In the family, the man’s name is now cursed.
Mariam told local media: “I have grown up in tears, my man has passed me through a lot of suffering.
“All my time has been spent looking after my children and working to earn some money.”
Finally, the woman has received medical treatment from doctors after years of being brushed aside.
Dr Charles Kiggundu, a gynaecologist at Mulago Hospital in Kampala, Uganda, explained: “Her case is a genetic predisposition to hyper-ovulate, which is releasing multiple eggs in one cycle, which significantly increases the chance of having multiples; it is always genetic.”
Mariam has confirmed that the doctors have removed the risk of her becoming pregnant once again. She said that the doctors had finally taken action by cutting “my uterus from the inside”.
Now that Mariam has had this issue solved, she has said that she’s happy to continue being a dedicated mother to her kids and wants to provide the best she possibly can.
The mum is hardworking, having taken on three jobs to make a decent income. She is a hairdresser, event decorator and collects and sells scrap metal. She even makes her own gin and herbal medicines which she sells on.
Mariam has explained that all of the money she makes goes towards her children. Paying for food, medical care, clothes and school fees, she wants her kids to have the best start in life.
Her eldest child has graduated from school and Mariam has hung the photo in her home, proud of her child’s academic achievements.
Unfortunately, Mariam’s child Ivan has been forced to quit school in order to help her raise the large family.
The 23-year-old said: “Mum is overwhelmed, the work is crushing her, we help where we can, like in cooking and washing, but she still carries the whole burden for the family. I feel for her.”
Mariam has been very open about her life and has discussed her early years of heartbreak.
Just three days after she was born, her mother left the family. Her father was then responsible for her five brothers and sisters.
Mariam’s father went on to marry another woman and disturbingly, she had the worst of intentions.
Mixing cut glass into Mariam’s siblings’ food, the stepmother had decided to poison her stepchildren.
Mariam was the only child that escaped; a visit to a relative meant unlike her siblings, her life was saved.
She said: “I was seven years old then, too young to even understand what death actually meant.
“I was told by relatives what had happened.”
Desperate to forget her past, Mariam said she desperately yearned for a family of her own to love and care for. She admitted that when she envisioned her family, she had pictured just six children.
She said: “I started taking on adult responsibilities at an early stage.
“I have not had joy, I think since I was born.”