A 65-year-old teacher who already has 13 children is set to become the world’s ᴏʟᴅᴇsᴛ mother of quadruplets. Annegret Raunigk, from Berlin, became ᴘʀᴇɢɴᴀɴᴛ after several attempts at ᴀʀᴛɪғɪᴄɪᴀʟ ɪɴsᴇᴍɪɴᴀᴛɪᴏɴ over the past 18 months using ᴅᴏɴᴀᴛᴇᴅ sᴘᴇʀᴍ and ᴇɢɢs. She had three boys, Dries, Bence and Fjonn, and one girl, Neeta, born by caesarian on Tuesday after 26 weeks – 12 weeks less than the normal ᴘʀᴇɢɴᴀɴᴄʏ ᴛᴇʀᴍ – and they weigh between one pound and seven ounces and two pounds and two ounces.
Raunigk, 65, already had 13 children aged nine to 44 by five different fathers when she made the decision to get ᴘʀᴇɢɴᴀɴᴛ again because her youngest wanted a ʏᴏᴜɴɢᴇʀ sibling. She also has seven grandchildren and will be 70 years old by the time her youngest sons and daughters reach primary school. The decision prompted ᴡɪᴅᴇsᴘʀᴇᴀᴅ ᴄʀɪᴛɪᴄɪsᴍ from mothers all over the world and ᴅᴏᴄᴛᴏʀs who were ᴄᴏɴᴄᴇʀɴᴇᴅ that her ʙᴏᴅʏ would ɴᴏᴛ be strong enough to ʜᴀɴᴅʟᴇ ᴛʜᴇ ᴘʀᴇɢɴᴀɴᴄʏ and birth. Raunigk had to undergo ⒾⓋⒻ ᴛʀᴇᴀᴛᴍᴇɴᴛin the Uᴋʀᴀɪɴᴇ to become ᴘʀᴇɢɴᴀɴᴛ again and it was the result of ᴀʀᴛɪғɪᴄɪᴀʟ ɪɴsᴇᴍɪɴᴀᴛɪᴏɴ using a ᴅᴏɴᴀᴛᴇᴅ ᴇɢɢ and sᴘᴇʀᴍ – a procedure which is ɪʟʟᴇɢᴀʟ in Gᴇʀᴍɴᴀʏ.
Raunigk, said she was ‘sʜᴏᴄᴋᴇᴅ’ when an ᴜʟᴛʀᴀsᴏᴜɴᴅ scan in the 21st week of her ᴘʀᴇɢɴᴀɴᴄʏ showed she was ᴄᴀʀʀʏɪɴɢ quadruplets. Her ɢʏɴᴀᴇᴄᴏʟᴏɢɪsᴛ initially mentioned the possibility of a ‘sᴇʟᴇᴄᴛɪᴠᴇ ʀᴇᴅᴜᴄᴛɪᴏɴ’ – where one or more ғᴇᴛᴜsᴇs are ᴀʙᴏʀᴛᴇᴅ in a ᴍᴜʟᴛɪ-ғᴇᴛᴀʟ ᴘʀᴇɢɴᴀɴᴄʏ – because of the sᴛʀᴇss multiple babies would put her ʙᴏᴅʏ ᴜɴᴅᴇʀ, but she declined. Her decision to have more babies ᴘʀᴏᴍᴘᴛᴇᴅ ᴄʀɪᴛɪᴄɪsᴍ from mothers over the morality of mothering children at such an age and concern from ᴅᴏᴄᴛᴏʀs who were unsure if her ʙᴏᴅʏ could handle the ᴛʀᴀᴜᴍᴀ of ᴘʀᴇɢɴᴀɴᴄʏ. But Raunigk previously told that she wasn’t ᴄᴏɴᴄᴇʀɴᴇᴅ about the people who questioned the morality of her decision to have children at ᴘᴇɴsɪᴏɴᴀʙʟᴇ ᴀɢᴇ. She said:” There will obviously be cliches bandied about and I find that quite strenuous. But I have always been a person who says live and let live and it is ɴᴏᴛ for the opinion of others but for me. I have enough experience of childbirth ɴᴏᴛ to be ᴀғʀᴀɪᴅ. I am ɴᴏᴛ sᴄᴀʀᴇᴅ actually, I am just hoping to stay healthy and fit. If others are mega-prim about this I believe they have no interesting lives themselves and therefore it no longer bothers me. I think this is the right choice.”
Her doctor, Kai Hertwig said:” I hope she can come to full term, I think she can. She is very well placed to be a fit mother for these babies. The ᴘʀᴇɢɴᴀɴᴄʏ so far makes no distinction between the ʙᴏᴅʏ of a ʏᴏᴜɴɢᴇʀ or older person but quadruplet pregnancies are always a high burden. We of course are keeping a close watch on the ᴄᴀʀᴅɪᴏᴠᴀsᴄᴜʟᴀʀ sʏsᴛᴇᴍ. We all have little or no experience with such a ᴘʀᴇɢɴᴀɴᴛ woman in this age group, but I can say that this is certainly going very well.” However, the quadruplets were born nearly three months early and children born so ᴘʀᴇᴍᴀᴛᴜʀᴇ are always at ʀɪsᴋ.