A nine-year-old schoolgirl gave birth, on January 27, by Caesarean section, to a healthy boy weighing 6lb (2.75 kilograms) – setting the world record for the Youngest Living Mother.
The unnamed girl was brought to a hospital in Changchun, which lies in the north-east of the country, when she was eight and a half months pregnant.
Her family – said to be from Songyuan in north east China – has refused to discuss the pregnancy but said they had reported it to police. In Songyuan, sex with a child under the age of 14 attracts a mandatory rape conviction and jail sentence, the Daily Mail reported.
Police were reportedly trying to find out who the baby’s father was. A nurse told the City Evening News the girl “looked very mature” but it was not known how she had become pregnant.
In Shanghai, China’s largest city, one hospital recently said that about 30% of abortions were carried out on school-aged girls.
China has launched a nationwide campaign to preserve the innocence of its children, banning any sexual content from the internet. Secondary school pupils are often suspended or expelled if they are suspected of having sexual relationships.
However, critics point out that there is a need for proper sexual education in order to combat the fast-rising number of teenage abortions.
Last year, a clinic in the central city of Chongqing was criticised after advertising half-price abortions for anyone with a student card. Advertisements for “Student Care Month” showed a schoolgirl wearing uniform, saluting and saying: “I am a student, I have special rights”.
The Guinness world record for the Youngest Mother in recorded history was set by Lina Medina, a five-year-old girl from Pisco, Peru.
On Mother’s Day in 1939, when Lina was just under 5 years and 8 months old, her baby was delivered by cesarean section. It was a healthy 6 pound baby boy, and was named Gerardo after the doctor who originally diagnosed Lina’s pregnancy, Dr. Gérado Lozada.
In 1957 another Peruvian girl, aged nine, gave birth to a girl weighing just over 6lb and, curiously, it was in 2006 that yet another Peruvian girl, aged eight, gave birth to a 4lb 4oz girl. Several other girls aged nine, from Thailand, Singapore, Rwanda and Brazil, have also given birth. Mothers aged as young as 10 and 11 have also become an increasing occurrence.