Azara Blog: A woman has a second set of triplets

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Date published: 2007/09/01

The BBC says:

A woman in Ohio has given birth to her second set of triplets.

Victoria Lasita and her husband Tim conceived both sets naturally, without fertility treatments that increase the chance of multiple pregnancies.

"Holy smokes. Do you know what the odds of that are?" fertility expert Dr Glen Hofmann told the Cincinnati Enquirer.

The chances of conceiving one set of triplets naturally were about one in 8,000, making the odds of having them twice far higher, he said.

Having triplets once did not affect the chances of having triplets a second time, added Dr Hofmann, medical director of the Bethesda Center for Reproductive Health and Fertility.

Given the 1 in 8000 chance, and the claim that having triplets a second time is independent of having triplets once, this means there is theoretically a 1 in 64 million chance of this occuring. There are around 128 million births per annum in the world, so that would mean this ought be happening twice a year on average. And there are around 4 million births per annum in the US, so even there this ought to happen around once every 16 years. But in practise the odds must be lower than 1 in 64 million, because presumably many people who have triplets are sane enough to stop having children, so never test the odds of having two sets.

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