Identical Quadruplets Born: 1 in 13 Million

The seventh set of identical quadruplets is born in Montana.

ByABC News via logo
January 8, 2009, 1:25 AM

Aug. 22, 2007 — -- The chances of having quadruplets is about one in 800,000. The chances of having a set of identical quadruplets is one in 11 million to 15 million.

On Aug. 12, four babies beat the odds and broke a record at the same time. The identical Jepp quadruplets were born in four quick minutes in Great Falls, Mont.

The four identical baby girls Autumn, Brooke, Calissa and Dahlia were delivered in the Benefis Healthcare System to proud parents Karen and J.P.

"As any parent will tell you, bringing a new life into the world is an amazing wonderful thing, and we've got four amazing wonderful things," new dad J.P. said.

The Jepps live in Calgary, Canada, but were sent to the states after learning that every single neonatal unit in Canada was too crowded to handle four premature births. One long hour after Karen Jepp went into labor and dozens of frantic phone calls later, the Jepps found Benefis Healthcare System in Montana 300 miles away. They were on a plane shortly thereafter.

"The nurses have been wonderful and really helped us out because we have no idea what we're doing," Karen said.

The girls were delivered by Caesarean section after 31 weeks. All are in good health and breathing without ventilators. The girls were conceived without the help of fertility drugs; one egg split three times to produce four babies.

With the babies traveling two to an incubator, the new family returned to Calgary in two separate trips; two with dad Thursday, and two with mom Friday.

The birth of the Jepp girls marks one of fewer 50 sets of identical quadruplets in documented, medical history.

"This is an incredibly rare event. You're talking about a one in 11 [million] to a one in 15 million event," said Jamie Grifo, division director of reproductive endocrinology at NYU Medical Center.

Aside from J.P.'s mother, who is a twin, there is no history of multiple births in either parent's family. "My mom is a fraternal twin," J.P. said. "But we're told that doesn't apply in this case. Fraternal abilities may be genetic, but an egg splitting is just a genetic happening."

The quads are expected to spend another four to eight weeks in the hospital before heading home with mom and dad to meet their big brother, 2-year-old Simon.