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August 1, 2014

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1 in a million: California couple conceives rare identical triplets

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AP Photo/The Sacramento Bee, Randy Pench

Brindabella holds the finger of her father, Tom Hepner, at Sutter Memorial on Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013 in Sacramento.

SACRAMENTO — Doctors at a Northern California hospital say a couple has given birth to a rare set of naturally conceived identical triplets.

The Sacramento Bee reports Abby, Brin and Laurel Hepner were born Nov. 22 at Sutter Memorial Hospital to Hannah and Tom Hepner, of Quincy.

The triplets were produced when a single, fertilized egg split into three.

Dr. William Gilbert, director of Sutter Women's Services, says the odds of producing identical triplets without fertility drugs range from 1-in-1-million to 1-in-100-million.

He said the rarity makes it difficult to more accurately calculate the frequency of such births.

Abby weighed 3 pounds, 2 ounces; Brin 3 pounds, 11 ounces; and Laurel 4 pounds.

The triplets are still in the hospital until they can maintain body temperature and eat properly.

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