By TOM MEERSMAN - Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune

Roda Aden gave birth to twin boys Wednesday at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis. Nothing unusual about that.

About 31 of every 1,000 live births are twins, according to recent U.S. birth statistics. But Aden also gave birth to twin girls at the hospital in May 2002.

And to twin boys in November 2000. Having two consecutive sets of twins is highly unusual, said Dr. Susan Dahlin, but three is extremely rare. None of the twins are identical.

Dahlin delivered two of the couple's three sets of twins. What's especially unusual, she said, is that Aden became pregnant with all the children without taking fertility drugs. For women in the United States not involved in fertility treatments, she said, only about eight births in 1,000 are twins.

When Dahlin told the couple that they were expecting a third set of twins, the father, Said Ismail, "almost had a heart attack," she said. "He thought I was kidding, and he really didn't believe me," Dahlin said.

On Thursday, Ismail smiled and cradled one of the babies in his arms just below his bushy beard. He and his wife came to the United States from Somalia 8 1/2 years ago and live in Minneapolis. He said there are twins on both sides of their family.

Two of his sisters have each borne twins, he said, and Aden's older sisters are twins. Ismail, who works at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, said he welcomed the news about the pregnancy and was only concerned about a safe delivery.

The boys, Hamza and Hudayfi, each weighed about 6 pounds at birth and are healthy. Ismail said he expects to spend virtually all of his spare time helping his wife with the six children.

He is already skilled at diaper changing and feeding, he said with a laugh. Aden said that her 4-year-old boys are excited to meet their brothers and that they wanted to talk with the babies by phone immediately after they were born.

E-mail Tom Meersman at [email protected]

(Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service, http://www.shns.com.)
Source: Newswatch 50, Jan. 15, 2005