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Did You Know ? 5-Year-Old Lina Medina Became The World’s Youngest Mother

Back in 1939, a girl named Lina Medina gave birth to a healthy baby boy. The only note-worthy detail in this was the girl’s age: she was only five-years-old. This Peruvian girl gave birth to a baby boy when she herself was just five years of age. No one knew who impregnated the girl but the truth is that she was suffering from early sexual maturity as her ovaries were totally developed at the time of delivery.

Lina lived in a small Peruvian village located 7,400 feet up in the mountains — the nation’s poorest region.

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This story is truly a medical marvel — one that is surely hard to believe. The girl’s parents initially thought their daughter was suffering from a massive abdominal tumour, but after being examined by doctors in Pisco, Peru, they discovered she was eight-months pregnant. Medina’s condition certainly came as a surprise to everybody who studied the case, but among pediatric endocrinologists, it wasn’t entirely unthinkable.

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About one in every 10,000 children develop a condition known as precocious puberty and Medina was one of those kids.

Contemporary newspaper accounts indicate that interest in the case developed on many fronts. In anticipation of the girl’s expected visit to U.S. university scientific facilities, the San Antonio Light newspaper in Texas reported in its 16 July, 1939, edition that a Peruvian national obstetrician/midwife association had demanded that the girl be transported to a national maternity hospital. The paper quoted 18 April reports in the Peruvian paper La Crónica stating that a North American filmmaking concern had sent down a representative “with authority to offer the sum of $5,000 to benefit the minor, we know that the offer was rejected.

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The same article, reprinted from a Chicago paper, noted that Lozada had made films of Medina for scientific documentation and had shown them around 21 April while addressing Peru’s National Academy of Medicine; on a subsequent visit to Lina’s remote hometown, some of the baggage carrying the films had fallen into the river while crossing “a very primitive bridge … Enough of his pictorial record remained, however, to intrigue the learned savants.

A month and a half after the original diagnosis, Medina gave birth by caesarean section to a boy. She was 5 years, 7 months, and 21 days, the youngest known person in history to give birth. The caesarean birth was necessitated by her small pelvis. The surgery was performed by Lozada and Dr Busalleu, with Dr Colareta providing anaesthesia.

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When doctors performed the caesarean to deliver her baby, they found she already had fully mature sexual organs from precocious puberty. Her case was reported in detail by Dr. Edmundo Escomel in the medical journal La Presse Médicale, including the additional details that her menarche had occurred at eight months of age, in contrast to a past report stating that she had been having regular periods since she was three years old.

Medina has never revealed the father of the child nor the circumstances of her impregnation. Escomel suggested she might not actually know herself by writing that Medina “couldn’t give precise responses”. Although Lina’s father was arrested on suspicion of child sexual abuse, he was later released due to lack of evidence, and the biological father was never identified. Her son grew up healthy. He died in 1979 at the age of 40.

In young adulthood, Medina worked as a secretary in the Lima clinic of Lozada, who gave her an education and helped put her son through high school. Medina later married Raúl Jurado, who fathered her second son in 1972. As of 2002, they lived in a poor district of Lima known as “Chicago Chico”. She refused an interview with Reuters that year,just as she had turned away many reporters in years past.

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