Thursday, November 10, 2011

Against All Odds

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!


pyjammy pam said...

It's crazy, isnt it? The statistic I go with is 1:60,000, which I've had explained to me, so I go with that. :)

Jonalyn said...

That is so crazy!

nan cee said...

Those little faces are just soooooo cute! Your information is very interesting. The only theory I can come up with is that you received a very special gift from Jehovah!
Love to you all,

mary said...

oh dear. the comments you get must be insane! it's crazy that ppl ask if twins run in your family since you have TRIPLETS, not twins!

geez folks!!! big sigh!!!!!