Calif. Mom Has 'One in a Million' Birth With Identical Triplets

Naturally conceived identical triplets are extremely rare.

ByABC News
January 24, 2014, 10:32 AM

Jan. 24, 2014— -- In this age of fertility treatments, triplets have become relatively familiar, if not exactly commonplace.

But a California family recently welcomed identical triplets, all the rarer because they were conceived naturally.

April Dooley, 42, gave birth to three boys on Jan. 13, according to ABC News station KABC-TV in Los Angeles. The addition of the three boys means that Dooley’s family doubled in size from three to six.

Dooley and her husband Brad also have a daughter.

Dooley told KABC-TV that she did not use any fertility drugs.

"We were very shocked when we found out we were having three babies because we did nothing to have more than one and multiples don't run in our family," said Dooley. "Once we got over the shock, we've just been really excited and anticipating this day."

While multiple births have become more common with the use of in vitro fertilization and other fertility treatments, naturally conceived identical triplets remain a rarity.

Dr. William Gilbert, the director of Women's Services for Sutter Health in Sacramento, Calif., said precise statistics on the likelihood of giving birth to identical triplets are hard to come by.

"It's hard to calculate a conservative estimate," Gilbert told in an interview last year. "One in 70,000 -- that would be on the low end, the high end is one in a million."

Most triplets are born during the 32nd week of pregnancy rather than the recommended 40th, Gilbert noted, but that the shortened gestation is common for multiples.

The Dooley triplets were born six weeks early, according to the Orange County Register. Though one infant had to have intestinal surgery, all three are doing well, the family said. They have been named Patrick, Owen and Liam.

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The Associated Press contributed to this article.