A gay male couple from South Africa are believed to be the first in the world to have triplets, including identical twins, using a surrogate.

Additionally DNA from both men was used to fertilize two eggs, one of which split.

The babies – Joshua and the twins Zoe and Kate – were delivered prematurely on July 2 at Sunninghill Hospital in Johannesburg. All three required constant monitoring.

“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,” Christo Menelaou, one of the dads, told Sky News.

“It's very hard to be accepted for adoption [in South Africa] 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.”

The couple, friends and neighbors of former Paralympian Oscar Pistorius, were introduced to their surrogate, a married woman with three children, by a key state witness in the athlete's murder trial.

Doctors advised the couple to terminate two of the babies to give one baby a better chance of survival. Advice they did not follow.

“We feel so blessed. We really do,” an emotional Theo Menelaou said.