Safinah Namukwaya has shocked and impressed her neighbours by giving birth at the ripe old age of 64!
When Safinah married Badru Walusimbi in 1996, she was 40 years old. She hoped to be able to have at least one baby with her husband. However, after 24 years of marriage, she and Mr Walusimbi were never lucky enough to become parents.
In her first marriage, Ms Namukwaya had an ectopic pregnancy, wherein the embryo implants in a fallopian tube. It can be a fatal circumstance without medical intervention.
She had given up hope of becoming a mother when she reached menopause
She felt sad that she was not able to give her husband, of Nunda Village in Kalungu District, Uganda, the gift of children. That was until March of 2019. That’s when she made an appointment at the Women’s Hospital International and Fertility Centre in Bukoto, Kampala.
Her doctor there, Dr Edward Tamale Ssali, told her that she might still be able to become a mother, despite the fact she was in her golden years
Dr Ssali realised that she had blocked tubes, and wondered if IVF (in vitro fertilisation) could give her hope.
Dr Ssali explains, “what we did is that her egg cells were fertilised outside her body and when the embryos formed, we put them back into her womb. She was lucky that her first attempt resulted in a successful pregnancy because some women make several attempts and fail.”
Just over a year later, Ms Namukwaya gave birth to a baby girl to a healthy at the Masaka Regional Referral Hospital on June 25, 2020
The procedure costs typically Ushs15 million, but Dr Ssali and the hospital staff were happy to lower the cost to 4 million to help her have a baby.
Are you shocked that the doctors would help a woman at the age of 63 have a baby? Well, Dr Ssali says that as long as a woman is younger than 70 and in good health, she can conceive, sometimes with her own eggs, and sometimes with donor eggs.
Dr Ssali says, “age is just a number
Using IVF technology, any woman can still have a baby so long as her immunity is not suppressed by diseases like HIV/Aids.”
Believe it or not, Ms Namukwaya is now the 25th Ugandan woman above the age of 50 to conceive a child and give birth thanks to IVF. She did not have a completely smooth pregnancy, as she faced high blood pressure, abdominal pain, trouble breathing, and swollen legs. Her doctors decided to deliver her baby via caesarean section at the eight-month mark.
The little girl, named Sarah, weighed 2.6 kg and breastfed normally just after birth
While she faced some insults after the birth, Ms Namukwaya says that she feels very blessed. “I really feel excited. It is unbelievable, but I thank Allah that I have finally become a mother by His grace.