Halima Cisse gave birth to the nonuplets -- five girls and four boys -- in Morocco. The Mali government flew her to Morocco for specialist care.
“I’m very happy,” her husband, Adjudant Kader Arby, told the BBC. “My wife and the babies are doing well.”
A team of 10 doctors and 25 paramedics assisted with the cesarean delivery. Youssef Alaoui, the medical director of the Ain Borja clinic in Casablanca, told AFP that the delivery was “extremely rare” and “exceptional.”
The preterm babies weigh about 1-2 pounds each and will be kept in incubators for 2 or 3 months, Alaoui said.
Cisse’s pregnancy became a popular story in Mali when doctors thought she was carrying septuplets, according to Reuters. Doctors were worried about her welfare and the babies’ survival, so health authorities intervened. After a 2-week stay in a Mali hospital, Cisse was moved to Morocco, where she stayed for 5 weeks. The cesarean section was ordered after she had “birth pains,” Alaoui said.
Arby is still in Mali with the couple’s older daughter but says he has been in regular contact with his wife. He told BBC Afrique that he’s not worried about the babies’ health and that the family has received overwhelming support.
“Everybody called me! Everybody called!” he said. “The Malian authorities called expressing their joy. I thank them … even the president called me.”
Two sets of nonuplets have been previously recorded, the BBC reported. One set was born to a woman in Australia in 1971, and another was born to a woman in Malaysia in 1999. But none of the babies survived for more than a few days.
In 2009, Nadya Suleman had octuplets in California and holds the Guinness world record for the most children delivered at a single birth who have survived, according to The Associated Press. The children -- six boys and two girls -- are now 12 years old.