Parents in a remote Peruvian town noticed their 5-year-old daughter had a large belly in the early spring of 1939. Tiburelo Medina and Victoria Losea took their young daughter from the family's home in Ticrapo to Lima to visit a doctor, fearful that the growth was a tumor.
The doctor informed the parents that their child, Lina Medina, was seven months pregnant. Medina gave birth to a single baby boy through C-section on May 14, 1939. She became the world's youngest mother at the age of 5 years, 7 months, and 21 days.
Medina's case surprised pediatricians and drew international attention, something she and her family did not expect. Medina has never revealed the identity of the father to authorities, and she and her family continue to avoid the media and any possibility for a tell-all interview.
Despite the fact that the case of the world's youngest mother remains a mystery, additional information about how Lina Medina became pregnant — and who the father may have been — has emerged.
A Precocious Puberty Case - a condition in which a person reaches puberty too early.
Lina Medina was one of nine children born on September 23, 1933, in one of Peru's poorest towns. Her pregnancy at such a young age must have come as a shock to her family and friends, as well as the general public. However, pediatric endocrinologists didn't rule out the possibility of a 5-year-old girl becoming pregnant.
Medina is thought to have had a rare genetic disorder called precocious puberty, which causes a child's body to mature too quickly (before age eight for girls and before age nine for boys).
A deeper voice, larger genitals, and facial hair are common symptoms in boys with this illness. Typically, girls with this illness will get their first period and grow breasts at a young age. It affects roughly one child out of every 10,000. This is how around ten times more girls than boys develop.
Precocious puberty is frequently caused by unknown factors. Recent research has indicated that young girls who have been sexually assaulted may reach puberty sooner than their classmates. Precocious puberty may thus be accelerated by early sexual intercourse, according to certain theories.
Lina Medina got her first period at the age of eight months, according to Dr. Edmundo Escomel's report in a medical publication. Other newspapers, on the other hand, reported that she began menstruation when she was three years old. In any case, it was an unusually early start.
Medina, who was just five years old at the time, had developed breasts, hips that were broader than normal, and accelerated (that is, post-pubescent) bone growth.
Despite the fact that her body was still developing at an early age, she was still definitely a young girl.
Lina Medina's baby had a father, but who was he?
Lina Medina's pregnancy is partially explained by her early puberty. However, it does not fully explain everything.
Someone had to get her pregnant, after all. And, unfortunately, given the 100,000-to-1 odds, that individual was probably not a tiny boy suffering from the same illness as she had.
Medina never revealed the identity of the father or the circumstances of the assault that resulted in her pregnancy to her doctors or the authorities. However, due to her youth, she may not have even recognized herself.
When asked about the father, Dr. Escomel replied she "couldn't give accurate responses."
Medina's father, Tiburelo, a local silversmith, was briefly detained for the alleged rape of his child. When no evidence or witness testimony could be obtained to hold him responsible, he was released and the charges against him were withdrawn. Tiburelo, for one, has categorically denied ever raping his daughter.
Some news outlets theorized in the years after Medina's birth that she may have been attacked at unspecified festivities near her town. This, however, was never verified.
The World's Youngest Mother Remains Silent
Lina Medina's pregnancy was well-publicized, and it drew interest from all around the world.
Newspapers in Peru offered the Medina family tens of thousands of dollars for the rights to interview and film Lina, but they declined. Meanwhile, publications in the United States covered the story extensively, including an attempt to contact the world's youngest mother.
There were even offers to pay the family to come to America. Medina and her family, on the other hand, declined to speak publicly.
Given the extraordinary nature of Medina's condition and her resistance to inquiry, it was likely inevitable that some spectators would suspect her family of fabricating the entire story.
This does not appear to be the case after more than 80 years have gone. Medina and her family have made no attempt to profit from the story and medical documents showing that she was in good health during her pregnancy.
Only two images of Medina, while she was pregnant, are known to exist. Only one of these, a low-resolution profile photograph, was ever published outside of medical journals.
Her medical records also include several reports from doctors who treated her, as well as X-rays of her abdomen that plainly reveal the bones of a developing fetus within her body. Her pregnancy was also verified by blood tests. And all of the papers that were published in the literature passed peer review with top marks.
Medina, on the other hand, has turned down every interview request. She would spend the rest of her life avoiding publicity, refusing to sit for interviews with both international wire services and local publications.