In adorable baby news: a surrogate for a same-sex couple in South Africa has delivered triplets born with both their father's DNA. First-time dads Theo and Christo Menelaou are both biological fathers to the set of triplets — which is believed to mark the first such instance in medical history. Each fertilized an individual egg, however one of the embryos split in two after being implanted, creating identical twins. Though many doctors recommended terminating two of the three pregnancies, giving one child a higher chance of survival, the surrogate and the fathers chose to push forward and carry all three to term.
Two girls and one boy were born prematurely on July 2. Kate, the littlest one, weighed only 1.3 kilograms (approximately 2.9 pounds), slightly less than her brother, Joshua, and sister, Zoe. After a prolonged stay in the hospital, all three babies are finally home with their delighted dads as of early August.
Before finding their surrogate, the couple worried that they wouldn't be able to start a family at all. "When you are gay, there is always the thought that it just may not be possible to be a parent no matter how much you would love to be. It's very hard to be accepted for adoption and we were told we would always come after heterosexual couples," Christo Menelaou, one of the fathers, told Sky News. "And then we just never thought we'd ever find a person who would want to be surrogate to a gay couple."
While South Africa has been a progressive stronghold when it comes to LGBT rights since 1998, it has stringent rules when it comes to surrogacy. It is illegal for a surrogate to accept any money, besides what is needed to cover medical expenses, from the future parents. She also must already have one "natural" child at home, and the written consent of her partner or husband before proceeding. The couple overcame these daunting odds at a neighborhood meeting held during the trial of Paralympian Oscar Pistorius. They met and became friends with a mother-of-three after the trial, and she agreed to help them conceive — a light in the aftermath of the brutal crime that rocked their community.
A video released by the Associated Press shows the family at home cuddling their newborns.
"You'll listen to people, and I don't think you'll ever understand what it feels like or means to be a parent ... it's indescribable," Theo Menelaou says in the video. The tiny threesome require careful attention; each is fitted with monitor, that is set off any time there is a change in their breathing. "We have to gently massage their backs, or tickle their toes just to remind them to take a breath," Theo told The Sun. The couple is aided by two nurses that assist them as their babies grow ever stronger. Despite difficulties, the pair feel incredibly grateful — Theo continued, "We feel so blessed. We really do."
Images: Associated Press/YouTube