FRANCES HARRIS
Elliott Minor  /  AP
Frances Harris, 59, who is set to deliver in December, could become the oldest woman in the U.S. to give birth to twins.
updated 11/17/2004 7:18:25 PM ET 2004-11-18T00:18:25

A 59-year-old great-grandmother is pregnant with twins and will deliver next month, three decades after she had her tubes tied. “They came untied,” Frances Harris said Thursday.

The multiple birth Dec. 21 would break the purported record set this week by a 56-year-old New York City mother of twins.

Harris, of rural Sylvester, Ga., said she wasn’t trying to get pregnant — and didn’t realize she was — until she started gaining weight and went to see her doctor.

“A lot of things changed about me,” she said. “I started craving grapes and apples, things I don’t usually crave. By then I was four months pregnant.”

When the doctor broke the news, “They had to sit me down. I couldn’t even talk,” she said.

The news was even more shocking considering Harris — the mother of five, grandmother of 14 and great-grandmother of six — had her tubes tied 33 years ago after the birth of her youngest child.

Aleta St. James holds her twin babies in New York
Jeff Christensen  /  Reuters file
Aleta St. James, who turned 57 on Nov. 12, became pregnant by in-vitro fertilization. She is seen here holding her twin babies.
Harris had her first child when she was 15; 44 years will separate her first-born from the newborns. She was divorced years ago from the twins’ father, 60-year-old Raymond Harris, a heavy equipment operator. She said they will remarry before the birth.

The oldest American believed to have given birth to twins is Aleta St. James, a single mother who turns 57 on Friday. She gave birth Tuesday by in-vitro fertilization at New York City’s Mount Sinai Medical Center.

Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show 263 children were born to women between ages 50 and 54 in 2002. The oldest American to give birth is Arceli Keh, of California, who was 63 when she had a daughter in 1996.

Harris said some family members, concerned about health complications, had suggested she end the pregnancy.

“I couldn’t live with myself,” she said. “I pray we all three pull through. When they’re so little, they’re so beautiful. I think they are God’s gift.”

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