A wife is pregnant with twelve babies, it was claimed last night. The unnamed mother-to-be - a teacher - is said to be defying medical advice by vowing to give birth to all six girls and six boys. If she succeeds, her brood - conceived after fertility treatment - will smash the world record for multiple births.
The father, identified only as Marwan, is backing her. He beamed: "In the beginning we thought that my wife would give birth to twins. "But more foetuses were discovered. Our joy increased with the growing number." He said his wife was determined to have a natural birth - but doctors had told her it was impossible.
British fertility experts warned the pregnancy in the Tunisian oasis town of Gafsa carried "colossal" risks. All nine babies born to the current record-holder - an Australian mum in 1971 - died in Sydney.
Shocked Dr Mark Hamilton, of the British Fertility Society, said: "Twelve babies seems extraordinary." The mum-to-be, who is being constantly monitored by experts in her home country, is said to have insisted she is "feeling fine".
She was also "looking forward to hugging her six boys and six girls". The wife had sought help after previously suffering the anguish of several miscarriages. It was not clear if she had IVF treatment or an alternative procedure called ovulation induction treatment.
IVF would have meant several eggs being fertilised outside the womb then implanted. OIT uses hormones to stimulate the ovaries so they produce eggs that can be fertilised the natural way.