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German 65-year-old mother-to-be of quadruplets defends pregnancy decision

A 65-year-old Berlin school teacher, and soon-to-be mother of quadruplets, has defended her decision to have more children. Doctors have warned of the risks to her and the four babies.

Annegret Raunigk is expected to give birth to quadruplets within the next two months. Already a mother of 13, with five fathers, Raunigk said she decided to get pregnant because her 9-year-old daughter wanted a younger sibling.

Raunigk told the Bild tabloid newspaper that donated eggs were fertilized and implanted at a clinic outside Germany. Several attempts were necessary before she became pregnant.

She defended her decision, saying: "How does one have to behave at 65?"

"They can see it how they want to," she said of her critics, "and I'll see it the way I think is right."

High-risk pregnancy

The decision by Raunigk, who is soon to retire, has been met with criticism by doctors who have warned of the risks both to her and the unborn babies.

"Any pregnancy of a woman over age 45 has to be considered a high-risk pregnancy; over 60 this is naturally extreme," said Dr. Holger Stepan, head of obstetrics at the University of Leipzig. "The 65-year-old body is definitely not designed to carry a pregnancy, not of one child and certainly not of quadruplets."

Germany's RTL broadcaster plans to track Raunigk through her pregnancy and afterwards.

Raunigk made headlines 10 years ago when she gave birth to her 13th child, Lelia, at the age of 55.

jm/cmk (AFP, AP, EFE)