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60 twins: 60-year-old woman has twins, China officially changes one-child policy

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The “60 twins” news report that came from China's state media on Tuesday consisted of two simple words but the story behind the “60 twins” news title turned out to be a story not just about parents who lost their only daughter to carbon monoxide poisoning but the story of a whole country. When it comes to children, “China has long maintained a one-child policy,” reported Channel News Asia on Dec. 24, 2013. However, on Saturday, just four days after China's state media reported the news about the 60-year-old woman who was allowed to have twins, China's top legislature, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, officially changed its controversial one-child policy, reported CNN on Dec. 28, 2013.

China's official change of its one-child policy passed on Saturday means that couples now are allowed to have two children if one of the parents was an only child.

"The one-child policy, which started in the 1970s, is believed to have prevented some 400 million births."

The births of the 60-year-old woman's twins is not only a "miracle" when it comes to nature, but it is also a "miracle" because the twin girls seen in the above picture kissing their mom could have easily been two of those 400 million prevented births.

Sixty-year-old Sheng Hailin and her husband consider themselves to be very lucky -- and a happy family.

Three years ago, in an almost unprecedented and extremely unusual case, China allowed 60-year-old Sheng Hailin to have her twins via IVF treatment. For more than 30 years, China’s often brutally family planning law restricted parents from having more than one child. Until Saturday's one-child policy change, exceptions used to include families living in the country.

In 2009, 60-year-old Sheng Hailin and her husband lost their much beloved 29-year-old daughter due to accidental carbon monoxide poisoning. "To survive and free myself of the loneliness, I decided to have another child in my old age," she told the China Daily.

After having lost their only child, a military hospital in the eastern city of Hefei agreed to give Sheng Hailin in vitro fertilisation (IVF) therapy, and on May 25, 2010, the then 60-year-old Chinese woman gave birth to the twins. “Zhizhi weighed 1.85 kilogrammes (4.1 pounds), and Huihui, 1.45 kilogrammes.”

Even though the twins were born to a 60-year-old woman in 2010, the state media reported it just on Tuesday at a time when China’s top legislative committee was planning to formalize a wider exception to the one-child limit.

For Sheng Hailin and her husband, whether being allowed to have twins at the age of 60 in China was politically motivated or not is of lesser importance. The twins are three years old now, Sheng Hailin is 63, and all that matters to them is that they are a family. As she told the China Daily, "for the baby girls, I have given out all I have.”

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