split image of Cisse nonuplets

In December 2022, aged one and a half years old, the world’s first surviving nonuplets went on their first plane flight.

They travelled from Morocco, where they were born and lived for 19 months, to their parents’ home country of Mali.

And now, two months shy of their third birthday, the nonuplets have made their first trip to Europe, visiting Italy to appear on our televised talent show Lo Show dei Record.

All nine children are healthy and developing well.

The nonuplets were too small to hold their Guinness World Records certificate when it was first presented to them in 2022, but they’ve grown significantly since then and they each now enjoy holding the award – even if that means having to snatch it from another sibling!

Their official Guinness World Records title is: most children delivered at a single birth to survive. The record was previously held by eight babies born to Nadya Suleman (USA) aka "Octomom" in 2009.

The nonuplets’ mother, Halima Cissé, admitted that it’s not easy putting all her children to bed each night, but they can be coerced with cuddles: “We cuddle them so they can sleep; they really like cuddles to sleep,” she said.

Until the arrival of the Cissé children, there had been no recorded cases of nonuplets surviving more than a few hours after birth.

Two Cisse siblings pulling on GWR certificate

The Cissé nonuplets were born prematurely via Caesarean section on 4 May 2021, 30 weeks into the pregnancy. Each baby weighed between 0.5–1 kg (1.1–2.2 lb).

The five girls were named Adama, Oumou, Hawa, Kadidia, and Fatouma; the four boys were named Oumar, Elhadji, Bah and Mohammed VI.

Doctors in Mali first thought that Halima was having septuplets, but two additional babies were detected after the Malian government flew her to a specialist clinic in Morocco.

Cisse nonuplets with mother

After being born, the babies were immediately transferred to incubators and required round-the-clock care for several months.

They were then moved into a specially equipped flat owned by the clinic, with nurses on hand to help Halima with the unprecedented task of caring for nine newborns.

Cisse nonuplets with parents

The nonuplets’ father, Abdelkader Arby, remained in Mali to look after the couple’s three-year-old daughter, Souda.

Souda, now aged six, went from being an only child to suddenly being the eldest of 10 siblings.

Speaking about his children’s world record, Abdelkader said: “We are proud, it’s something exceptional. The family is known worldwide, it’s a great thing.”

Missed the nonuplets' appearance on Lo Show dei Record? Viewers in Italy can watch it now on Mediaset Infinity. Lo Show dei Record airs Sundays on Canale 5. 

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