Big hearted CHELSEA CLINTON plans to adopt a baby from Africa, The ENQUIRER has learned exclusively.

The former first daughter, 33, de­cided on the surprising maternity plan after watching both parents battle potentially deadly health problems while she’s struggled to get pregnant, insiders say.

“After years of worrying that she’d lose her dad Bill to a heart attack, Chelsea flipped out when her mom Hillary was hospitalized with a blood clot near her brain,” a close friend told The ENQUIRER.

“The clot was successfully treated and Hillary is out of the woods, but the incident made Chelsea realize that life can turn on a dime.”

MEANWHILE, her father –  who had emergency quadruple bypass surgery in September 2004 and had two stents inserted in a clogged heart artery in February 2010 – has confessed that he longs for grand­children.

“I’m determined to live to be a grandfather,” the 66-year-old politi­cian admitted in a candid TV inter­view last October. “But I just think the older you get, the more you want every year to count.”

Since that interview, “Chelsea has been more determined than ever to give her parents a grandchild as soon as possible – and adopting an African baby is her new maternity plan,” said the source.

“Besides that, her parents will be over the moon. In light of the fam­ily’s humanitarian values, nothing could be more rewarding than for Chelsea to give a needy baby a for­ever home.”

Chelsea wed hedge fund execu­tive Marc Mezvinsky, 35, on July 31, 2010, and while sources say they’ve been trying the “old-fashioned way,” she hasn’t been able to get pregnant.

As The ENQUIRER recently re­ported, Chelsea decided to undergo in vitro fertilization treatments, but sources say a recent trip to Africa led to the adoption decision.

 “Chelsea has a heart of gold, and recently everything – from her parents’ health crises, to her and Marc’s inability to conceive and her family’s special devo­tion to the black community – came together in her mind,” said the source.

“She realized that adopting an African child would be a good idea if she couldn’t get preg­nant.”

And as the daughter of a former president and former secretary of state, “she can cut some corners when it comes to the red tape of the adoption process,” said the source.

“For now, Chelsea is doing ev­erything she can to jump-start the adoption process. It’s possible a child could be selected in the next few months.”

With an eye to starting a family, Chelsea and her husband have also report­edly started the process of buying a new $10.5 million apartment in Manhattan.

The 5,000-square-foot res­idence has four bedrooms, six and a half baths, oak floors, Italian marble bath­rooms and private elevator access.

“It’s right across the street from Madison Square Park, and there’s no ques­tion that one of those bed­rooms will be a nursery for Chelsea and Marc’s ad­opted baby,” said the source. “And when her father visits, he’ll be trailed by Secret Service agents – so there will always be plenty of helping hands when it comes to changing diapers!”