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Michigan family gives birth to identical triplets - a statistical rarity

Dec 20, 2016

It's going to be one special holiday season for this family.

According to Jaleesa Irizarry of WZZM, John and Julie Vandermolen now have three identical twins. Their names are Ivan, William and Harrison, and they were born in Grand Rapids. 

More from John via WZZM:

"You kind of set in panic mode a little bit, a little fear takes over, ok a lot of fear," father, John Vandermolen said. "So I will take one and Julie will take one, I don't know who will take a third, maybe we need to get a dog," he said as his wife Julie laughed beside him

The couple tried to get pregnant for awhile, WZZM says. They initially faced a miscarriage. 

Having identical triplets is incredibly rare, and they're not based on genetics, according to Washington Post's Rachel Feltman:

Contrary to popular belief, identical twins don’t actually run in families. Fraternal twins might, if the women in a particular family share some genetic trait that makes them more likely to release two eggs during an ovulation cycle instead of one. But for now, there’s no evidence of a genetic predisposition for zygote splitting.

They are, however, pretty unlikely. A 2003 study says there are about 20-30 identical triplets per million births.