Growing up with a sibling is a special experience. You’ll never be short of a friend, and sometimes you can pull your resources together to get what you want from your parents; whether it’s that trip to Disney that you’ve been dreaming of or the latest pair of sneakers.

And many would argue that being a twin or triplet creates an even stronger bond because you’ve literally been together from the very beginning. However, these experiences were denied to three triplets, who were separated at birth to be used in a sinister social experiment.

Born on July 12, 1961, a series of chance events eventually reunited Robert Shafran, Eddy Galland, and David Kellman.

The trio had actually been a part of identical quadruplets, but their fourth sibling died at birth. They were put up for adoption by an agency which primarily worked with young, single Jewish mothers, and it had a disturbing policy for twins and triplets.

A psychiatrist advised the agency to separate twins, triplets, and quadruplets because it was thought that it would save them the trauma of competing for their adoptive parents’ attention. As a result, the people who adopted them were not even told that they were quadruplets.

After the truth was revealed, the adoptive parents were angry that they weren’t given the option of adopting all three boys.

To make matters worse, the boys’ adoptive parents were told that they were part of an intensive child development study and that agreeing to its terms was a part of the adoption process. Knowing that Jewish babies were hard to come by, they all agreed.

At the time, the adoptive parents assumed that they had been chosen at random, but it later transpired that they all had an adopted daughter who was around two years old.