Identical Triplets Born in Brazil Leave Hospital

Delivered naturally, the brothers are a rare genetic phenomenon.

The identical triplets, Thomas, Gael and Davi at the hospital. Note: We have obtained permission to use this photo from the hospital. (Hospital Santo Antonio/Newsflash)

BLUMENAU, Brazil — — A set of identical triplets have gone home with their parents after spending over a month in a critical-care unit at a local hospital.

The newborn brothers were discharged from a hospital in the Brazilian municipality of Blumenau on Dec. 4. They were born naturally, which is rare in the case of triplets.

Davi, Gael, and Thomas were taken home to the nearby municipality of Rodeio by their parents, Taiza Priscila Kruger and Itamar Antunes.

During their time in the neonatal intensive care unit, the premature newborns gained weight, were bathed regularly and even received music therapy.

The triplets are the couple’s first children.

“I have relatives with twins, but I never thought I would have twins,” Kruger told local media. “It was actually a shock, a big surprise to find out there were three.”

Identical triplets occur twice in every million births, according to the Santo Antonio Hospital where the boys were born. The phenomenon, called monozygotic triplet pregnancies, occurs when a fertilized egg splits into three, or splits into two and one of the two splits again. That produces three embryos with the same general DNA characteristics. 

Such pregnancies carry a number of risks, including preeclampsia, preterm labor and transfusion syndrome.

The relative rareness of triplets is underscored by these statistics from the U.S: in 2018, there were 123,536 twin births, but just 3,400 triplet births.

An estimated 15 million babies are born preterm (before 37 completed weeks of gestation) yearly. Brazil is one of 10 countries with the greatest number of preterm births.

(Edited by Fern Siegel and Matthew B Hall)