Science: Extremely rare identical triplets

2008-03-06 00:00

Allison and Tom Penn hold their identical triplets (from left) Logan, Eli and Collin at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, New York.

The triplets’ birth was an event so rare that an obstetrician estimated it might happen just once in 200 million births. Allison Penn was impregnated with just one embryo through in-vitro fertilisation, said Dr Victor Klein, a specialist in multiple births and high-risk pregnancies who delivered the boys.

That embryo split in half, and then one half of that split again, he said.

“This is the first one we’re aware of in the literature in the country in which they only put back one embryo” and a woman gave birth to triplets, Klein said.

Identical triplets are born at a rate between one in 60 000 and one in 200 million, depending on the research, Klein said.

Their father commented: “Anybody who says God doesn’t have a sense of humour — everything we did was just for having one baby, and now we have three.”

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