Q:

What happened to the Dionne quintuplets?

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Quick Answer

According to the New York Times, the Dionne quintuplets were five identical girls born on May 28, 1934. They were thought to be the first quintuplets to survive infancy.

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What happened to the Dionne quintuplets?
Credit: New York Times Co. Archive Photos Getty Images

Full Answer

The Dionne quintuplets were born near Callander, Ontario, Canada to Elzire and Oliva Dionne. At birth, they weighed less than 14 pounds altogether. While they were objects of fascination, their combined story is tragic.

Émilie Dionne, who aspired to be a nun, suffered from epilepsy. She died as the result of a seizure at age 20. Marie died at age 35 due to a cerebral blood clot. She was married and had two daughters, but became estranged from her husband. Yvonne never married, and she became an artist and a librarian. She died at age 67 from cancer.

Cécile and Annette both married and had children, and each eventually divorced. They lived together in a Montreal suburb with Yvonne until her death. At one point, the three women wrote an impassioned letter to Kenny and Bobbi McCaughey, who were the parents of recently born septuplets. The letter warned them not to let their children be exploited.

In 1995, the three gave an interview to the New York Times claiming that their father had abused them sexually.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What is in the Dionne Quintuplets Museum?

    A:

    The Dionne Quintuplets Museum, in North Bay, Ontario, Canada, includes images and documents outlining the lives of the five girls, born in 1934. Some of the items include information on Dr. Allan Roy Dafoe, the delivering obstetrician, and their time spent in a specially built hospital where they were on display as a tourist attraction for nine years. Individual histories of the girls, named Annette, Emilie, Yvonne, Cecile and Marie are also on exhibit.

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  • Q:

    Are there identical quintuplets?

    A:

    Identical quintuplets are possible, though the closest possibly identical quints were born in Poland in 2008, according to About.com. The only known identical quintuplets prior to that were the Dionne sisters, who were born in Ontario, Canada in 1934.

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  • Q:

    What are quintuplets?

    A:

    Quintuplets or "quints" are five siblings who were all carried by their mother during the same pregnancy. Quintuplets are the result of a dizygotic pregnancy. This type of multiple-birth pregnancy indicates that multiple fetuses were produced from at least two zygotes.

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  • Q:

    How do you get pregnant with quintuplets?

    A:

    According to the American Pregnancy Association, there are two ways that a woman can become pregnant with more than one child at a time, either multiple eggs are fertilized at the same time, or one fertilized egg divides into multiple embryos. The chances of becoming pregnant with more than baby is low however. In particular quintuplets are very rare, accounting for less than 41 births in 2011 out of almost four million total births, as noted by Multiples of America.

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