It was a shocking moment for Becki-Jo Allen, a 23-year-old mother from Liverpool when she found out she was pregnant with triplets. However, her surprise turned into an even bigger astonishment when she was told that her triplets looked exactly alike.
Other mothers pointed it out, and Allen decided to confirm it through a DNA test. The results showed that her triplets, Roman, Rocco, and Rohan, were genetically identical, against the odds of up to an incredible 200 million to one!
Despite their identical looks, Allen can distinguish between them with ease. She said, “While they have similar features, I can tell them apart without difficulty. Roman’s birthmark between the eyebrows is slightly darker than the others, and Rohan has a birthmark on his leg.”
To confirm whether twins or triplets are identical, DNA testing is necessary. After consulting with the Multiple Births Foundation, Allen took cheek swabs from her triplets and sent them to a laboratory to be analyzed. She received the news earlier this month that they are genetically identical, and they are thought to be one of only a few naturally conceived sets of identical triplets in the UK.
The triplets were born by cesarean section at 31 weeks, with Rocco weighing 3lb 5oz, Roman weighing 3lb 6oz, and Rohan weighing 3lb 10oz. Now, at ten months old, they are thriving at home, and their personalities are starting to show.
Allen said, “Rohan is the loud one, he’s always shouting. Rocco is normally quite laid-back, but he can be feisty too, while Roman is usually complaining that he doesn’t want to share.”
Raising triplets is not an easy task for Allen, who must go through roughly 130 nappies and four packs of baby wipes each week. A single pack of formula lasts about two days, and she has to run the washing machine around three times each day to keep up with their laundry. Liam Tierney, the father of the triplets, does not live with Allen, so much of the day-to-day help comes from her sister Lauren, 17.
Before having her first child, Allen’s ambition was to train as a neo-natal nurse. She is even more keen to fulfill this wish after experiencing what she has gone through with her triplets.
“All the help and medical attention we’ve received has been wonderful,” she said. “I’m just so happy they’re all doing so well now.”
The chance of identical triplets occurring without fertility treatment is estimated to be between one in 60,000 and one in 200 million, as they are conceived when the fertilized egg splits twice. Karen Gilbert from Pontypool, South Wales, resorted to painting her one-year-old identical triplets’ toenails in different colors every morning so she could tell Ffion, Maddison, and Paige apart. In 2016, identical triplets Leila, Liina, and Lily Luik competed for Estonia in the marathon at the Rio Olympics.
It is truly a wonder that Becki-Jo Allen‘s triplets are genetically identical, especially since they were conceived naturally. The odds of this happening are incredibly slim, and yet, against all odds, it happened to her. Though they look alike, Allen has no trouble telling them apart and is doing her best to raise them with the help of her sister. Her experience has also strengthened her desire to become a neonatal nurse. It is amazing to see how unique each set of triplets can be, and how they leave their mark on history.
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