The Strange Case Of The Five-Year-Old Girl Who Gave Birth

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The Strange Case Of The Five-Year-Old Girl Who Gave Birth

When Lina Medina was taken by her parents to be examined by doctors in Pisco, Peru they suspected that she was suffering from an abdominal tumour, but what medics discovered continues to astound scientists to this day.

On examination, Dr Gerardo Lozada found that five-year-old Lina's mammary glands and sexual organs were fully developed, not only that, she was also discovered to be eight-months pregnant.

Questioned about the pregnancy, Lina's mother informed the doctor that she had been having a period since the age of three - but further investigation discovered that she suffered from a condition called precocious puberty, and her menstruation had in fact begun at just eight months.


Although typically puberty begins at the age of 11 for girls and 12 for boys - precocious puberty is when the onset of puberty occurs before the age of eight in girls and nine in boys. Its cause is not known but, like later age puberty it results in enlarged breasts, pubic or underarm hair development and rapid height growth.

Importantly for Lina's case, it also means the child can give birth.

Just weeks later on May 14, 1939, she gave birth to a baby boy by Caesaerean, as her pelvis was deemed to small for a natural birth.

Seventy-eight years later, at just 5 years, 7 months old, Lina remains the youngest confirmed case of human pregnancy.


The child, weighing six pounds, was well-formed, in good health and was named Gerardo after the doctor who delivered him. With both the child and the mother able to leave the clinic after only a few days.

Lina and her child were raised as brother and sister in a small Peruvian village located 7,400 feet up in the mountains - the nation's poorest region - it was only when he was 10-years-old that Lina's identity as his mother was revealed.

Her son led a healthy life until 1979, when he died from bone marrow disease at the age of 40. Lina - who has never spoken about the pregnancy - is still alive aged 85. She married husband Raul in the 1970s and later gave birth to a second son.


Of course, there is a darker side to the pregnancy, it has never been revealed who the father of Gerardo was, or the circumstances surrounding the impregnation. Lina's father was immediately arrested for sexual abuse and incest, however he was released by police due to lack of evidence.

However an article reviewing the case in 1955 suggested that there were frequent festivities celebrated in the Andean villages like the one where Lina was born. These often ended in orgies where rape was not uncommon.

Given the astonishing nature of the story, it has been suggested that it was a hoax. However the case has been verified based on biopsies, X rays of the fetal skeleton in utero, and photographs taken by the doctors caring for her.


Sadly this isn't the only out-of-the-ordinary condition affecting children, Bayezid Hossain, a four-year-old from Bangladesh, is the boy who looks like an old aged pensioner due to a very rare condition.

The young lad is believed to suffer from progeria, which causes him difficulties weeing, gives him a swollen face, sagging skin, hollow eyes, aching joints, as well as weak teeth, due to him ageing eight times faster than normal.

Unfortunately, children the same age as Bayezid are afraid of him because of the rare condition, which means he can't go to school. People in the community usually avoid him, despite the fact that after word spread about his birth, people queued up outside his house to see him.


Tripti Khatun, the four-year-old's mother, said: "Bayezid only learned to walk aged three but he had a full set of teeth at three months old.

"His physical growth is completely abnormal but mentally, he has wonderful conversation, very aware and is very intuitive for his age.

"He does not look like other children. He looks like an old man. As a first time mother I can't bear the pain of seeing my child like this."

When Bayezid was born in 2012, doctors were stunned and unable to help Tripti and her husband, Lovelu Hossain.

"I was terrified to see him when he was born," Tripti said. "He was just flesh and bones. He looked like an alien and it was heartbreaking for me.

"Doctors had no idea what to do, they said they had never seen such a baby. They warned us that there was nothing they could do."

Credit: Cover Asia Press via YouTube

Unfortunately, Tripti and Lovelu received no help from their local community, who instead gossiped about their child, and discussed their capabilities as parents, given that they are also cousins.

Typically, those who suffer from progeria have a short life span, usually dying from heart attacks or strokes at an average age of 13.

Bayezid has been labeled the 'Old Man' by locals, but is slowly being accepted.

According to his mother, he completely understands his condition, but cries whenever it is spoken about.

His dad, Lovelu, has accepted that there may not be a cure for Bayezid, but also believes that his son isn't getting the best chance of survival because his family are poor.

Topics: Birth, Child

James Dawson

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