Two sets of triplets have been born within 24 hours in Ulster Hospital at Dundonald in County Down. According to Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, triplets occur naturally in approximately one in 10,000 pregnancies. For two sets to have been born so near to one another and in the same hospital is astounding.
On Tuesday, Brendan and Kirsty McMenamin from Downpatrick had Zoey, a baby girl, and two boys called Cameron and Brody. The following day, Claire and Johnny Stewart from Donaghadee had three baby girls: Libby, Evie and Annie.
Commenting on the births, Claire Stewart said twins run in her family. She had been shocked but delighted when she found out she was having triplets. At an early scan, her consultant had told her she was having twins, before correcting himself and telling them it was actually triplets.
“One of my first responses was: ‘I’m so glad my mum’s retired’”, said Mrs Stewart.
“The practicalities did come into my head; I only have two hands, what do I do with the third one?”
The birth was described as calm, despite the fact that there were more than 20 people in the room and students looking through the windows.
Identical or not?
Triplets that are all the same gender could be identical, but this is extremely rare. The UK’s Twins and Multiple Births Association say the odds are around one in a million.
Zygosity twin testing is a way to determine whether twins, triplets and higher multiple babies are identical or not.
The test involves analysing tiny amounts of DNA from inside each of the sibling’s mouths. Specific markers present in repeat sections of DNA are examined. DNA seen at each of these 35 Short Tandem Repeat (STR) loci is compared between the tested individuals. Identical babies will share the same DNA profile whereas non-identical siblings will have different DNA profiles.
Photo by Rossographer – https://www.geograph.ie/photo/621931