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A 65-year-old German woman with 13 children is pregnant again. And this time she's expecting quadruplets, for a total of 17.
Annegret Raunigk, an elementary school teacher from Spandau, a western district of Berlin, made the news 10 years ago when she gave birth at age 55 to her 13th child, a daughter, Lelia. That was considered something akin to a miracle, since Raunigk became pregnant naturally and without any fertility treatments.
Her first 12 children — by five men — are ages 22 to 44 (11 of them, in fact, were born in the former East Germany), the Berliner Morgenpost and Bild newspapers reported. Lelia turns just 10 on June 1, and she wanted a sibling closer to her own age, according to the magazine and radio company RTL, which is documenting Raunigk's pregnancy on its current affairs show "Extra."
So Raunigk sought fertility treatments this time.
"So what if I'm 65?" Raunigk told RTL. "Why must one always hew to the obvious clichés? I find that quite exhausting."
But Dr. Holger Stepan, head of obstetrics at the University Hospital of Leipzig, called the pregnancy "an absolute disaster." He told Berliner Morgenpost that it wasn't just Raunigk who's at risk — so are her four fetuses.
Pregnancy so late in life opens the woman to increased susceptibility to high blood pressure, diabetes and other "life-threatening conditions," he said.
And if the babies do survive, they will almost certainly be premature, said Stepan, who said they could be at risk for cerebral hemorrhages, infections and lung damage.
But so far, doctors said, the pregnancy is proceeding without major complications, with delivery expected in the summer.
"I have enough experience with this," Raunigk told RTL, according to Berliner Morgenpost. "To me, this is nothing new."