A mother who has given birth to 44 children has been banned from having any more.
Mariam Nabatanzi, from Uganda, was married off at the age of 12 and gave birth to her first set of twins a year after that.
Five more sets of twins followed that first, as well as four sets of triplets and five sets of quadruplets.
The 39-year-old woman was abandoned by her husband three years ago and has been supporting her surviving 38 children alone.
The family lives in deep poverty. She lives in four cramped houses with her children, in a village surrounded by coffee fields.
Doctors have now banned Nabatanzi from having any more children.
The mum-of-44 says a doctor told her he had “cut my uterus from inside”.
Over the course of the years, doctors found Nabatanzi had unusually large overies. She was advised that birth control pills could lead to health issues in her case.
Gynaecologist Dr Charles Kiggundu, from Uganda, says the mum’s fertility is likely to be hereditary.
“Her case is genetic predisposition to hyper-ovulate — releasing multiple eggs in one cycle — which significantly increases the chance of having multiple births,” he said, quoted by The Sun.
“It is always genetic.”
Nabatanzi has lost six children. Her last child died during childbirth and was part of her sixth set of twins, three years ago.
Shortly after, she was abandoned by her husband.
“I have grown up in tears, my man has passed me through a lot of suffering,” she said in an interview.
“All my time has been spent looking after my children and working to earn some money.”
She does whatever job she can do to earn money for her children, including hairdressing, event decorating, selling scrap metal, brewing local gin and selling herbal medicine.
Her eldest child, Ivan Kibuka, is now 23 and dropped out of high school because his mum could not afford it.
“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,” he said.
Twelve of the children sleep on metal bunk beds in just one room. The other children sleep on shared mattresses and some on the dirt floor.
Everyone helps around at home and a roster nailed to the wall divides the duties.
According to the mum, the family cango through 25kg of maize flour in one day.
The mum says she just wants her children to grow up and live happy lives.
“I started taking on adult responsibilities at an early stage,” the mum said. “I have not had joy, I think, since I was born.”