Look at these cute faces!
What good little boys, they brush their teeth before going to bed!
What are the odds?
From time to time I think about how unusual it is to not only have triplets but to have the most unusual type of triplets. Sometimes I try to wrap my head around it but it makes my brain almost explode so I have to stop thinking about it.
I have a degree in biology so I'm very interested in the molecular mechanism of how this happens and why. I've tried to find reasons as to why a single fertilized egg decides to split for no apparent reason. I scoured PubMed and have found nothing (anyone out there know of a good scientific paper?). There are a few very unfounded 'theories' of why this happens but no real evidence to back them up.
So lets take look at my odds:
Who is most likely to have a multiple birth?
-If you conceived using some sort of fertility aid: Nope
-If you, your mother or grandmother was a fraternal multiple: Nope
-If you've already had a set of fraternal multiples: Nope again
-If you're Nigerian: last time I checked No
-If you are overweight and/or tall: I'm short and skinny
Who is least likely to have a multiple birth?
-If you are Hispanic or Asian: Yes, I'm Hispanic
-If you are a younger woman at conception: Yes, I was 28 yrs old when I got pregnant, I think that counts as young?
-If you live in Hawaii: No, ok you got me there
Of course none of the above matters when it comes to identical twins or higher. It is a completely spontaneous or random event and the odds are the same across the entire population. The question "do twins run in your family" does not apply to me and unfortunately I have to answer this question ALL THE TIME! So let's see how likely it is to naturally conceive multiples, in order of most frequent:
twins in general: 1 in 90 or 1.1%
identical twins: 1 in 285 or .35%
triplets in general: 1 in 7921 or .013%
conjoined twins: 1 in 75,000 or .0013%
identical triplets: it's so rare that nobody knows! I've read anywhere from 1 in 200,000 to 1 in 2million or .0005% to .00005% chance
That's right people, we were more likely to conceive conjoined twins than identical triplets!