Thrice Blessed: South African Couple Celebrates Birth Of Triplets


South African Same-Sex Couple Welcomes Triplets

Joy, oh joy, oh joy!

That was the news for South African couple Christo and Theo Menelaou, who have now taken their triplets back home to Pretoria after a nerve-wracking three weeks in hospital, where the babies hovered between life and death.

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They were delivered prematurely at just over 31 weeks on 2 July.

The same-sex couple are believed to be the first in the country and possibly the world to have triplets – which also include identical twins – using a surrogate.

Talking about the births, Theo’s eyes filled with tears: “We feel so blessed. We really do.”

The couple are now celebrating the fatherhood they never thought they would enjoy, caring for the triplets at their own home with the help of two nurses who are with them night and day.

Each baby is still fitted with a monitor which sounds an alarm when the baby stops breathing.

“We have to gently massage their backs,” Theo said, “or tickle their toes just to remind them to take a breath.”

Joshua was the first triplet born by caesarean and was the heaviest, weighing 1.82kg (4lbs), Zoe came next, weighing 1.4kg (3.1lbs), and finally Kate followed at just 1.3kg (2.9lbs).

But, as Christo told Sky News, it has not been an easy road as they are triplets that no-one thought would be born – including their doting parents.

“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,” he said.

“It’s very hard to be accepted for adoption and we were told we would always come after heterosexual couples.

“And then we just never thought we’d ever find a person who would want to be surrogate to a gay couple.”

In another bizarre twist, the Menelaous met their surrogate only through the trial of the “Blade Runner”, convicted murderer Oscar Pistorius.

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They encountered the mother-of-three after a group of neighbours on the residential estate where the killing took place got together after the trial. Few knew each other before the Paralympian shot dead his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in February 2013.

Initially, a number of doctors advised the couple and the surrogate to terminate two of the babies to give the third a better chance of survival but eventually the Menelaous found someone who agreed to help them deliver all three.

Dr Heidra Dahms, the gynaecologist at Sunninghill Hospital who delivered the babies, told Sky News: “It is extremely rare. I have never heard of this before.”

The triplets were obviously meant to be.