Headlines have recently given the spotlight to a 9-year-old girl gave birth last month at Zoquipan Hospital, in western Mexico, after being impregnated shortly after she became 8 years old.
The search is ongoing for the newborns father, a 17-year-old who authorities are looking to charge for having a sexual relationship with a minor.
"She did not realize that she was pregnant until the seventh month," said Lino Ginzalez Corona. Her boyfriend suggested Dafne move in with him and to raise the child together but when the young mother refused, her boyfriend "decided to leave town two months ago," says Corona, spokesperson at Jalisco State Prosecutor's Office, who received an account of the relationship from the young mother who described it as a loving relationship.
This isn't the only story that has hit about a child becoming impregnated in the news recently. Two years ago a 9 year girl in Northeastern China also gave birth to a child. Authorities there were looking for the father of the newborn because sex with a child under 14 is automatically considered rape in China.
Yet these cases are not the most shocking instance of a youngster becoming pregnant. In 1957 Time magazine reported that a 5 year old girl in Peru had become pregnant and given birth without complication. What was even more interesting is that she was the second youngest girl to have her child delivered by the same doctor.
On May 14, 1939 a Lina Medina, who was 5 years and 7 months gave birth to a healthy baby in Peru. Her child was raised as her brother and her father was initially charged with rape, but was released due to lack of evidence, although others were suspects. This case was documented by doctors with photographs of the pregnant child, x-rays and doctor visits from the United States. According to medical reports she had begun to menstruate at the age of 2 and a half and upon her initial C-section was seen to have fully mature sex organs by doctors.
In 2002 she was still living in the "Chicago Chico" district of Lima, with her husband who she had conceived a second child with in 1972. In 2002 she also declined an interview with Reuters, preferring to not bring up the past again.
It is know that many things impact the sexual maturity of children, particularly young girls. Things such as obesity, exposure to environmental chemicals and hormones can cause physiological changes. Such was the case a few years ago where young siblings began to grow pubic hair and had 100x the blood levels of testosterone of an adult male. It was later found that the father had been using a testosterone cream on his skin which was being transmitted to his children by skin contact alone.
As shocking as these cases are, we must understand what is causing them and ask ourselves how can they be prevented in the future?