'Miracle' identical girls born

2012-01-26 09:34

Leipzig - Doctors at a clinic in eastern Germany have described the birth of four identical girls as a miracle.

Laura, Sophie, Jasmin and Kim were 10 weeks premature but doctors at University Clinic Leipzig say they have good chances of surviving. They were conceived naturally and were delivered by Caesarean section.

Each of the girls weighed about 1kg at delivery on January 6 and will remain at the premature baby unit until they have reached their scheduled date of birth. Obstetrician Professor Holger Stephan said the 31-year-old mother is in excellent health.

Identical quadruplets are very rare. Stephan said the chances of giving birth to identical quadruplets is one in 13 million.

"It's very unlikely that quadruplets are naturally conceived and then go on to develop into healthy babies."


Identical quadruplets are formed when a fertilised egg divides into four shortly after conception. The embryos develop in separate amniotic sacks and share the same placenta.

Doctor Walter Klockenbusch from the University Clinic in Munster in northern Germany agreed that identical quadruplets are extremely rare: "Nature does not usually allow for births like that."

Klockenbusch encountered quadruplet births two or three times during his 20 years at the clinic but none of them were identical.

There are no records of identical quadruplets to be found in Germany's ABC Club, an organisation for families with multiple-birth children of triplets and upward.

"It's possible that it's the first of its kind in Germany," said Hartmut Hartleb, the club's president.

"It's a miracle that the multiple-pregnancy managed to last until the 28th week without encountering any problems," said Stephan.

The last quadruplets to be born at the clinic in Leipzig were in 1976. The mother of the latest four babies gained 10kg in weight during her pregnancy and was perfectly healthy until too much amniotic fluid was detected and the size of her belly began to be a cause of concern.


"The mother lives close to the clinic and she was admitted a few hours before the children were delivered," said Stephan.

Doctors at the clinic decided to perform a Caesarean section. The first child, Laura, was born at 21:45 and the last just five minutes later. The parents say their identical children are "sensational", according to Stephan. The mother is a hairdresser and the father recently bought a large car and finished decorating the girls' room.

The mayor of Leipzig has decided to sponsor the children.

"I'm very happy that all are in good health and I wish the family all the best," said Burkhard Jung, who is himself father to four children.

Jung plans to visit the family to present them with €500 ($694) and offer them help from Leipzig's authorities should they wish it. University Clinic Leipzig has offered to pay for nappies for the next few years.

The newborn girls are the younger siblings to a five-year-old brother. He will have trouble telling his sisters apart, just like their obstetrician does.

"They are absolutely identical," said Stephan. Laura is the eldest and Kim the youngest but she is the strongest of the four and weighed in at 1.1kg. The second to be born, Sophie, weighed just under 1kg at delivery.

"It's amazing how well they survived the birth," said Stephan.

Ventilator support

Aside from the expected difficulties that most premature babies have, the four girls are in good condition and almost all of their organs are working normally.

"Their lungs do need a little assistance, however."

Three of the girls can breathe on their own with occasional help while the fourth girl needs ventilator support.

Stephan has been the mother's obstetrician from the start and he said he plans to keep in contact with the family: "Something like this only happens once in your career."

  • elphaas.mgiba - 2012-01-26 09:48

    what a miracle wish the mother and the children a good health.

  • ivan.coetzee2 - 2012-01-26 09:55

    Wow, thats fantastic, wish them all the best!

  • sabrael - 2012-01-26 09:57

    "The mother of the latest four babies gained 10km in weight.." Poor woman.

      louis.langenhoven - 2012-01-26 11:16

      guess they measured her circumference? sure hope it wasn't the diameter!

  • kobie.nel1 - 2012-01-26 09:58

    Big trouble comming up when they start dating. Just a bit worried about the 10km in weight the mother has gained.

  • Deirdre - 2012-01-26 10:05

    Now this is an awesome feel good story!!! Congrats to the mom, dad and big brother and to the community that have rallied around them!

  • Godfrey - 2012-01-26 10:06

    Miracle, naah! Excellent professional medical skills, yep!

  • Gregory Jurgens - 2012-01-26 10:07

    10km amazing story

  • denise.wilshire - 2012-01-26 10:17

    What Joy! What a miracle!

  • louis.langenhoven - 2012-01-26 10:22

    Wish I could see them! Really hope they grow up to be 4 lovely happy girls

  • jombo - 2012-01-26 10:34

    There's actually two miracles... 1) How well the babies survived the birth. 2) The mother of the latest four babies gained 10km in weight during her pregnancy...

  • Leboo Ls - 2012-01-26 10:40

    news24 can u pls get editors,hw cn 1 gain 10km in weight.

  • Sechaba - 2012-01-26 11:03

    the poor lady gained a lot, 10km is not a child's play

  • TheSkepticDetective - 2012-01-26 12:27

    It's not a miracle, it's random chance.

      modo - 2012-01-26 14:28

      Yeah of course it is chance, not sure why people are disliking your comment. It even says in the article, 1 in 13 million probability. That is very little, sure, but for every 13 million births worldwide it's bound to happen about once. No miracle required.

  • Mathys - 2012-01-26 20:09

    I CALL (an 18 year delayed, of course) DIBS

  • rbotha - 2012-01-27 14:52

    now thats how you do it! Boom, and your all done! Everybody growing up at the same time.. awesome!

  • nlawre - 2012-01-30 16:19


  • Kim Tannahill-Weber - 2012-02-06 23:07

    Love to help! I'm a Newborn Care Specialist, living in Germany, from the USA.

      Kim Tannahill-Weber - 2012-02-14 14:46

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