Chilean woman, 91, told she has been 'carrying foetus in her womb for 60 years'

Estela Melendez said she never knew she had been pregnant

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The Independent US

A 91-year-old woman discovered she has been carrying a foetus in her womb for more than 60 years.

Estela Melendez, 91, from the small town of La Boca in Chile, was given the news by doctors after having an x-ray following a fall.

Having originally thought that the growth on Ms Melendez’s stomach was a tumour, a second x-ray showed it was a “calcified foetus”, CNN reports.

The syndrome, known as a lithopedion or a ‘stone baby’ occurs when a pregnancy goes wrong and the calcified layer that forms around the foetus protects the mother from its dead tissue.

An x-ray showed a foetus had been inside Estela Melendez's body for 60 years. Copyright: Lider De San Antonio/CNN

The stone, which does not pose a health risk to Ms Melendez, prevented her from having children. 

She told CNN she had never realised she was pregnant and that the lump on her stomach serves as a poignant reminder that she and her late husband of 74 years, Manuel González, who died in January, could never fulfil their dream all those years ago.

“Can you imagine?  More than 60 years! I wonder how she never felt bad once the foetus died inside of her,” Ms Melendez’s nephew Luis Melendez told the television station.

It is reported that doctors considered operating to remove the foetus but decided against it due to Ms Melendez's age.