The sensation over 12 IVF embryos growing in the womb of a Tunisian woman has died down before it really caught the imagination of the world. The claim is now dubbed fake. The 34-year-old Arabic teacher and her husband from Gafsa are said to be in hiding.
An investigation by the country's health ministry has revealed that she has 'psychological problems and is unlikely even to be pregnant.'
AdvertisementA spokesman in Tunis, the country's capital, added: 'Our staff interviewed her at length, but even her pregnancy appears to be in her imagination.
'She's claiming to be nine months pregnant with six boys and six girls, but there's absolute nothing about her appearance which indicates this.
'The woman has refused point blank to undergo a medical examination. Now we can't even contact her. She's gone into hiding.'
A doctor at No'man al Adab Hospital, the only one in the town of Gafsa, confirmed that the woman had never been in their care, and had 'undoubtedly' made the whole thing up.
'It may be that she's trying to make money from television,' he said. 'These kind of people can make thousands from appearing on programmes. Perhaps that's what motivated her.'
The woman's husband, a man in his 40s described only as Marwan, is known to have hired a lawyer to deal with media enquiries.
'Even he's gone missing now,' said the doctor. 'There's something very suspicious going on, and we wouldn't be surprised if this matter ended up with the police.'
Experts had always cast doubt on the woman's claims, with Peter Bowen-Simpkins of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists saying: 'How could you get 12 babies into the womb at the same time?'
'The womb just doesn't expand that much. She would have to be about seven feet tall.'
And so Nadya Suleman, the octomum, can rest easy. Her record stands.