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California Couple Welcomes Rare Identical Triplets to the World

Update Date: Dec 05, 2013 10:33 AM EST

A California couple has welcomed three identical triplets into their lives, a feat that is extremely rare. The new parents, Hannah and Tom Hepner, who reside in Quincy, Plumas County, had the three identical triplets without the help of any fertility treatments. Instead, against all odds, the one fertilized egg had split into three.

"Identical triplets are anywhere from one-in-a-million and one-in-a hundred million," said Dr. William M. Gilbert, medical director of Sutter Women's Services and founder of Moms of Multiples Center. "It is so rare that it is hard to calculate how frequently they occur."

The couple had given birth to the three girls at Sutter Memorial Hospital on November 22. The girls were all born under four pounds, but were still considered to be at good weights for triplets. Abby weighted in at three pounds and two ounces, Brin was slightly heavier at three pounds, 11 ounces and Laurel weighed in four pounds. The babies are considered to be healthy but before they can leave the hospital, all three must be able to maintain their own body temperature, gain weight and eat properly.

"It is not unusual with identical triplets to have a difference in weight," Gilbert explained reported by the Sacramento 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."

The couple expressed their joy over their new babies. They first found out that they were having identical triplets early on in their pregnancy are "looking forward to finding out who those individuals are and helping them along the way."

Tom jokingly added in regards to the rarity of their situation, "We are thinking of bottling the water in Quincy and offering it as a fertility treatment."

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