Fact Check: Did this Woman Really Give Birth to Seventeen Babies?

AFP

Multiple Facebook posts have shared a composite photo featuring two images, one of a heavily-pregnant woman and one of a man surrounded by babies, alongside a claim that the woman has set a new world record by giving birth to 17 boys. The claim is false; the story originated on a satirical website; one of the images has been doctored and the other image is being used out of context; the world record for most children delivered at a single birth to survive is eight, held by American “octomom” Nadya Suleman.

The misleading posts, for example this one posted by a Sri Lankan Facebook user on June 12, 2019, which has been shared more than 600 times, contain a composite image combining an image of a heavily-pregnant woman, and a photograph of a man in hospital scrubs surrounded by babies.

The text across the top of the image says, “Catherine Bridge has holds the world record by giving birth to 17 babies. All of them are boys”.

The post’s Sinhala caption translates into English as: “May the Triple Gems bless the mother who gave birth to 17 baby boys and set a world record. How great would it be if the Sinhalese had babies like this?”

This claim is false.

A reverse image search on Yandex of the picture of the pregnant woman in the post led to this image posted on an online social network for artists in August 2015.

The image in the misleading post has been digitally manipulated to make the woman appear more heavily pregnant.

A Google reverse image search of the photograph of the man in dark green scrubs found the exact same photograph posted here on the Facebook page of a doctor named Robert Biter on August 3, 2012.

A version of the photograph also appears on Biter’s official website.