Tebogo Tsotetsi, the boyfriend to Gosiame Sithole, a South African woman who claimed to have broken a world record by giving birth to 10 babies at once, said he doubts if the children exist.
Last week, reports had swirled that Sithole had 10 babies -- seven boys and three girls through a caesarean section at an undisclosed hospital in the capital, Pretoria.
But the family of Tebogo Tsotetsi, the “father,” said in a statement that he has not seen the babies and had relied on his girlfriend, who called to inform him of their birth, Andalou Agency reported.
His statement read, “The current uncertainties and public discourse about the decuplets is (sic) of major concern to the family, especially in the absence of any proof of the decuplets existence other than telephonic and WhatsApp messages from the mother."
Tsotetsi also said the last time he saw Sithole was June 7, just before she was transported to Mediclinic Medforum Hospital with pains.
According to him, he received a WhatsApp text from her the next day letting him know she had given birth, with the help of four doctors, two gynaecologists, and five nurses, to seven boys and three girls after 29 weeks of pregnancy.
But she followed that information up with a notice: He could not come to see them, as the hospital wasn’t allowing visitors due to COVID-19.
“I subsequently insisted that, as a father, I would like to come to the hospital to see our newly born children,” Tsotetsi said in his statement.
Sithole instead told Tsotetsi that she was transferred to Steve Biko Academic Hospital for postnatal care and that she, too, had not seen the babies
Earlier, Tsotetsi had asked people to stop donating money to both of them because Sithole won’t disclose where the children are.
The father of the 'miracle' babies also noted that since Sithole hadn’t been seen in days, a missing persons case had been opened by his family.
Fearing he would be the prime suspect if something had happened to her, Tsotetsi said he went to a lawyer’s office, where he wrote a message to Sithole asking for her location and a picture of the babies.
“I really needed to see you but my priority is our safety,” he wrote in his message, according to his statement.
Sithole then sent him the address for Steve Biko hospital. She told him the babies were sent to an intensive care unit due to their premature birth, while Sithole was going to see a psychologist for counselling.
Tsotetsi said he made multiple efforts to reach the hospitals, but couldn’t visit Sithole or the babies. He said in his statement that he wants to know her location and a photo of all 10 babies. So far, she’s only sent him a picture of one child.
Since the birth, the only time Tsotetsi said he’s seen Sithole is from a selfie she sent him on Friday. In that photo, she’s covered in a black-and-white, snowflake-patterned robe. She was not holding a child.
However, in statements to local media outlets, doctors from Mediclinic and Steve Biko said they did not deliver the babies and Sithole had not been treated there.
“We can confirm that none of our facilities was involved in the obstetric care of this patient or her decuplets,” a Mediclinic spokesperson told The Sunday Times.
The CEO of Steve Biko, Matabo Mathebula, called into The Clement Manyathela Show and said Sithole showed up to the medical centre in regular clothes—sans children—and said she had given birth at Louis Pasteur Hospital. But a spokesperson for Louis Pasteur told the show Sithole had never been treated there.
The family concluded that the current uncertainties and public discourse about the decuplets are of major concern to them, especially in the absence of any proof of their existence other than text and WhatsApp messages from the mother.
“The family has resolved and concluded that there are no decuplets born between Tebogo Tsotetsi and Gosiame Sithole until proven otherwise,” the statement said.
It also apologised for any inconvenience and embarrassment caused.
Sithole’s “miracle birth” was believed to have set a new Guinness World record after news of a Malian woman giving birth to nonuplets in Morocco last month excited the world.