What about triplets or more?

Rarer than twins, triplets and other multiple births have fascinated people since time began. Do you know any triplets, quads, quints or sextuplets? Are they identical, which would be rarer again!

Multiple birth siblings are either monozygotic or polyzygotic. The former result from a single fertilized egg or zygote splitting into two or more embryos, each carrying the same genetic material. Siblings created from one egg are commonly called identical. Since identical multiples share the same genetic material, they are always of the same sex.

Polyzygotic (or fraternal) multiples instead result from multiple ova which are then individually fertilized to grow into multiples no more genetically alike than ordinary full siblings, sharing 50% of their genetic material. Multiples called "dizygotic" represent multiples from two eggs specifically. For example, a set of triplets may be composed of identical twins from one egg and a third non-identical sibling from a second egg.

  • In 2012, there were 1,217 sets of twins born and 33 sets of triplets born in Ireland
  • In 2011, there were 1,319 sets of twins, 28 sets of triplets and one set of quadruplets
  •  The largest surviving complete set is a group of seven (known as septuplets), who live in the USA.  Three complete sets of sextuplets survive in the UK, born in 1983, 1986 and 1993


Some Recent Multiple Births

Kimberly and Craig Fugate

Kimberly and Craig Fugate thought they were expecting identical triplets only to be surprised at the birth of a fourth little girl who was hiding behind the others all along. The odds of spontaneous quadruplets are 1 in 729,000. But in the Fugates' case, the odds are even smaller because their girls split from a single egg, meaning the siblings are identical. The Fugates said they have named the babies Kenleigh Rosa, Kristen Sue, Kayleigh Pearl and Kelsey Roxanne. The quadruplets join big sister Katelyn, who is 10.


Derrico Family

The Derrico family of Las Vegas, USA, naturally conceived quintuplets.  Specialised care from a perinatologist and multiple-birth specialist in Arizona helped the quints come into this world.  The doctor told Mrs. Derrico to gain 75-100 pounds to carry the quints to a healthy term! 

Look here for a video of their beautiful family: 

Source, ‘Rare Naturally Conceived Quintuplets Born in Arizona,’ YahooNews,

Nuala and Austin Conway

In May 2009, sextuplets, four girls and two boys were born to Nuala Conway of Cookstown, Co. Tyrone. They weighed between 1lb 7oz and 2lb 2oz at birth and thirty medical staff were on hand to deliver them. The babies were conceived naturally.

The adventure of being in a family of quadruplets