Identical triplets born in California, sans fertility drugs

December 5, 2013 (SACRAMENTO, Calif.)

Abby, Brindabella (Brin) and Laurel Hepner were born at 33 weeks on Nov. 22 at Sutter Memorial Hospital to Hannah and Tom Hepner, of Quincy.

The triplets were produced when a single, fertilized egg split into three. Dr. William Gilbert, director of Sutter Women's Services, says the odds of producing identical triplets without fertility drugs range from 1-in-1-million to 1-in-200-million. He said the rarity makes it difficult to more accurately calculate the frequency of such births.

"Very, very rare. First one I've seen in 30 years of doing this," Gilbert said.

Abby weighed 3 pounds, 2 ounces; Brin 3 pounds, 11 ounces; and Laurel 4 pounds. In total, about 11 pounds. The triplets are still in the hospital until they can maintain body temperature and eat properly.

"It's everything at once. You can get lost just staring at their face, then it's just in the moment, but it's overwhelming to think about everything to come," said Hannah Hepner.

When asked if they wanted more children?

"This is more than we bargained for. I think we're good," said Tom Hepner.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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