The quad squad: Four times the fun, four times the challenges growing up

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SINGAPORE – They were given only a 40 per cent chance of survival when they were born in 2004.

But the quadruplets, born premature at 26 and 28 weeks, beat the odds.

The Cheng siblings, who will turn 20 in September this year, were conceived through in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH) and comprise identical twins Zacharee and Shana, and fraternal twins Abby and Yannis, the only boy in the mix.

Yannis is studying information technology at Temasek Polytechnic. His fraternal twin Abby is in business school at Nanyang Technological University.

Zacharee is in medical school overseas and hopes to become a neonatal doctor, while her identical twin Shana is waiting to start university in Australia.

Their father Cheng Ching Kang, 54, said the four were conceived through a first attempt at IVF “after eight years of not having any children”.

“My wife Betty and I love kids, so we decided to try IVF. I prayed to God to let us have twins. I did not know that my wife also made the same prayer.

“I guess God decided to grant both our prayers when the doctor told us we were having four babies,” said the software engineer, laughing.

Obstetricians and gynaecologists The Straits Times spoke to said such high-order multiple pregnancies are at risk of adverse outcomes, such as extreme prematurity, which can lead to chronic disease, disability and even death for the babies.

Dr Christopher Chong, who is in private practice, said the human womb is not naturally able to handle more than one or two babies without much complication.

“(There is) a higher chance of complications such as growth restriction, twin-to-twin transfusion and disproportional growth of the foetuses. Hence, selective abortion has been practised to save the other foetuses,” he said.

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