Sheng and her twin daughters. (Internet photo)
Sheng's husband and twin daughters. (Internet photo)
The twins play the piano. (Internet photo)
The twins in matching outfits. (Internet photo)
After Sheng Hailin from Hefei in Anhui province gave birth to twin girls conceived through artificial insemination at the age of 60, she has been earning money on the lecture circuit in order to provide for their future, reports the Guangzhou-based Southern People Weekly.
Sheng opted to try for a child despite her age after her first daughter, born in 1980, died from carbon monoxide poisoning in January 2009 when she returned to her husband's hometown.
Relatives who saw how devastated Sheng was after losing her daughter suggested she try to have another baby. Sheng was already 60 years old but the possibility of fertility treatment was suggested.
After three months of medication, injections and nursing, Sheng, who had already passed the menopause, began to menstruate again, much to the amazement of doctors. Three fertilized eggs were implanted in October 2009. The procedure was successful and Sheng had a ten-month pregnancy, considerably dangerous at her age, before giving birth to twin girls on May 25, 2010.
She is the oldest known woman in China to conceive and give birth to children. From the time the twin daughters Zhizhi and Huihui were a few months old, Sheng embarked on a three-year tour of the country, giving speeches about health at seminars.
In December alone, Sheng visited nine cities to speak. She stays at least a day in each city but sometimes up to three or four days. In order to catch her flights on time, Sheng often skips meals. Her busy schedule means she only stays 10 days a month at home at most. She has had to hire two nannies to take care of her girls.
Without her daughters, Sheng and her husband could live comfortably with their income but she said she wants to make as much money as she can to ensure they can have a good life and education in the future. She feels guilty because her daughters like their nannies better than her as she spends so little time with them, however, she has told them why they were born and why she works so hard on their behalf. Sheng believes her daughters will be able to understand after they grow up.
China's Ministry of Health estimates there are around 76,000 senior parents in China living alone after experiencing the death of their only child and the issue of their welfare in old age has become a serious issue.
Sheng Hailin 盛海琳