It’s quite remarkable when you think about it. Just the science alone is mind blowing. Theo and Christo Menelaou are the first same sex couple in South Africa to become biological fathers of triplets in history through a surrogate. They have two identical twin girls and a boy.
According to Sky News International, the Menelaous became parents under incredibly rare circumstances. Let us break down for you how this case of shared parenthood worked.
Sperm from each of the dads was used to fertilize two eggs from the same woman. One of the eggs split, meaning one baby shares DNA with one dad (and the surrogate) and the identical twins share DNA with the second dad (and again, the surrogate). It’s remarkable stuff considering how many couples, gay and straight, that can have families because of advances in technology. The multitudes of ways parents can become parents nowadays, whether it’s through IVF, surrogacy or adoption, are truly incredible.
As cool as all of the science sounds, that doesn’t mean there weren’t hurdles along the way for the Menelaous, just like any other pregnancy. The couple’s journey to parenthood wasn’t easy. When doctors learned that one of the eggs had split they became concerned. According to the The Telegraph, the couple was advised to terminate two of the babies, so the one baby had a better chance at living. The couple ignored that advice. Their surrogate gave birth prematurely to the babies in July. Each baby weighed around 2 pounds at birth.
The babies couldn’t go home right away because they needed to be monitored. But, they’re all home now. One baby still needs to undergo heart surgery. Each baby has an alarm that monitors their breathing, and two nurses are with the couple to help. As any parent knows, coming home from the hospital with your newborn is the most wonderful and terrifying experience.
But the Menelaous seem utterly happy, Theo telling a reporter, “It’s an experience of a lifetime,” he says smiling. He continued, “You’ll listen to people but I don’t think you’ll ever understand what it feels like or means to be a parent, it’s indescribable.”