Woman gives birth to rare identical quadruplets at Montana hospital

Woman gives birth to rare identical quadruplets at Montana hospital
J.P. Jepp rests his hand on Calissa Jepp, Thursday, Aug. 16, 2007, at a hospital in Great Falls, Mont.
HELENA, Mont. (AP) - A 35-year-old Canadian woman has given birth to rare identical quadruplets, hospital officials said.

Karen Jepp of Calgary, Alberta, delivered Autumn, Brooke, Calissa and Dahlia by Caesarian section Sunday afternoon at Benefis Healthcare hospital in Great Falls, Mont., said Amy Astin, a spokeswoman for the hospital.

The four girls were breathing without ventilators and listed in good condition Thursday, Astin said.

"These babies are doing grand," said Dr. Tom Key, the perinatologist who delivered the girls.

The babies were born about two months early and were conceived without fertility drugs, he said. They weighed between 2.6 pounds and 2.15 pounds.

"We're really active people," their father, J.P. Jepp, told the Great Falls Tribune. "We're looking forward to ballet lessons and dance lessons - maybe a hockey player in there - who knows? We're looking forward to the next step."

The couple also have a 2-year-old son, Simon.

J.P. Jepp works for Shell Oil Co., and both parents worked for nonprofit groups until recently, Astin said.

The chances of giving birth to identical quadruplets is about one in 13 million, Key said.

Medical literature indicates there are less than 50 sets of identical quadruplets, said Dr. Jamie Grifo, director of the NYU Fertility Center in New York.

The last reported set were born in April 2006 to a 26-year-old Indian woman.

The Jepps drove 325 miles to Great Falls for the births because hospitals in Calgary were at capacity, Key said.