When you're a parent to identical triplets and there's a news article announcing the birth of identical triplets, it's inevitable that someone will forward that article to you. What I find so interesting in these new stories is the information provided regarding the birth rate of identical triplets. The most common rate, and the one my MFM (Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialist) told us, is 1 in a million but I've seen 1 in 50,000 all the way to 1 in 100 million. My MoM (mother of multiples) friends and I have debunked that last rate based on common sense. If there are approximately 300 million people in the United States, that means that there would only be approximately 3 sets of identical triplets. That doesn't sound right. There are about 4 million births in the United States each year. If only 1 in 100 million were identical triplets, we'd have to wait a long time to witness such a birth and I've read about 3 sets born in the past month.
I also find it amazing that in almost every article the doctor is quoted as saying that these births are so rare, the data doesn't exist for an accurate birth rate. In this day and age, it seems to me that it should be easy to track such births, especially they really are so rare. And I do believe that there is rarity to them. My MFM was the head of the group at a big city hospital and my identical triplets were only the second set he had ever seen. The first set had been 13 years earlier and based what he said, I don't believe they survived.
Because we're on the subject - I'm still fascinated with the theory that identical triplets really begin as identical quads. Some believe that egg splitting happens equally, meaning that if the egg is weak enough to split into two (giving you identical twins) that if one of those twins is going to split (which would give you identical triplets) that both twins splits (giving you identical quads.) Confusing, I know. I think it's an interesting theory, although I'm not so sure I believe it. I wonder what the egg splitting was for the Dionne Quintuplets.
In the latest identical triplets news story I watched online, the doctor is quoted as saying the outcome was good because the mother was healthy and took care of herself. I want to point out that no matter how well a woman takes care of herself, sometimes things happen beyond our control. There's only so much we can do. Yes, taking care of yourself is important but it only goes so far. As most of us know, and all of us should know, even a healthy singleton pregnancy can end in ruins.