The remarkable true story of the five-year-old girl who became the world's youngest mother
Lina Medina was born on 23 September 1933 in Tirapo, Peru. Five years, seven months and 21 days later, she gave birth to a baby boy.
Born in the Catrovirreyna Province to silversmith Tiburelo Medina and Victoria Losea, at first a change was noticed to her body. Uncertain what it could be, she was taken to the hospital at the age of five due to "increasing abdominal size". Initially it was suspected that she may have a tumour, but eventually, the doctor came to the conclusion that she was seven months pregnant.
She was then surveyed by numerous experts, including a trip to the United States to be seen in university scientific facilities to verify the pregnancy. Many speculated that it must be a hoax, but it was verified as various doctors confirmed it via biopsies and x-rays.
A month and a half after the diagnosis, on May 14, 1939, Medina gave birth to a boy. She also became the youngest known person in history to give birth - a record that no one has come close to since.
She gave birth via caesarean, which was necessary due to her small size. However, upon conducting the surgery, they found that she already had fully mature sexual organs from early development, which in this case was referred to as an extreme case of "precocious puberty".
Her case was reported by Dr. Edmundo Escomel in the medical journal La Presse Médicale, in which he wrote that she had her first menstrual cycle at the age of three. The report also explained that by four she had shown prominent breast development, and by five she had displayed pelvic widening and advanced bone maturation. By the time of the pregnancy, she had the physical development of a girl aged 10 or 12 years old.
Her son weighed 6 lbs at birth and was named Gerardo, after her doctor. He was raised believing that she was sister until the age of 10, at which point he discovered that she was, in fact, his mother.
She worked as a secretary to help put her son through high school, then had a second son at the age of 39 after she was married. Gerardo grew up healthy, but unfortunately passed away in 1979 at the age of 40, from bone marrow disease.
Despite various attempts to unearth the truth, Medina has never revealed the identity of the father of the child nor the circumstances in which he was conceived. Writing of her responses to these questions, her doctor reported that she "couldn't give precise responses". Her father was arrested on suspicion of child abuse, but was later released due to a lack of evidence, with no further clues to what had happened.
Lina is reportedly still alive and is now 84-years-old. As of 2002, they lived in Lima, the capital of Peru, where she refused an interview with Reuters that year. It has been said in the following years that she is still living there and has turned interviewers away on numerous occasions. In the 79 years since the birth of Gerardo, nothing close to this has ever happened again.