Identical Triplets Born in California Are 'One-in-a-Hundred Million'

Thursday, 05 Dec 2013 07:00 AM

By Alexandra Ward

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A California woman gave birth to a rare set of identical triplets last month, but what was even more noteworthy was that the babies were conceived without fertility drugs. The odds? As much as "one-in-a-hundred million.

Hannah and Tom Hepner, of Quincy, Calif., welcomed Abby, Brindabella (Brin, for short), and Laurel Nov. 22 at Sutter Memorial Hospital in Sacramento. The girls — who weighed in at 3 pounds, 2 ounces; 3 pounds, 11 ounces; and 4 pounds, respectively — will remain hospitalized until they can maintain their body temperatures, gain weight, and eat properly, according to The Sacramento Bee.

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"It is not unusual with identical triplets to have a difference in weight," Dr. William M. Gilbert, medical director of Sutter Women’s Services and founder of Moms of Multiples Center, told The Bee. "They usually don’t share equal amounts of the placenta, so therefore one gets a little less nutrition than the other. When you have a difference in weight, the little one does better after they are born because the stress of being little matures your lungs faster."

Identical triplets occur when a single fertilized egg splits into three parts.

"Identical triplets are anywhere from one-in-a-million and one-in-a-hundred million," Gilbert told The Bee. "It is so rare that it is hard to calculate how frequently they occur."

Hannah Hepner, 29, said even though her daughters look exactly the same, they will all live their own lives.

"We understand that they are going to be individuals," she said. "We look forward to finding out who those individuals are and helping them along the way."

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