A gay throuple in the United States have created legal history in 2017 after a court allowed all three fathers to have their names written on their children’s birth certificates, showing and achieving such success in the family.
Doctor Ian Jenkins, alongside his partners Alan Mayfield and Jeremy Allen Hodges used donated embryos, also known as egg donors, and surrogates to welcome their two children. Now joining their 3-year-old daughter is newly born son, Parker, who is 14 months old, and their both half-siblings.
The trio also paved the way for polyamorous families ever since a judge signed the three fathers being recognised on Piper’s birth certificate back in 2017. A truly groundbreaking moment for LGBTQ+ parents.
Ian Jenkins told Huff Post, “We had the option to adopt the embryos and make the decision to raise a unique family”. Before stating that, it was mentioned that a friend Jeremy Allen Hodges offered the three gay fathers leftover embryos. This happened when Hodges’ friend tried to build a family through IVF, but failed. So, the friend gave the embryos to the trio.
Like any other fathers, the trio had to understand how to raise or parent emotionally strong kids. The difficult part is that their three gays dads raising two children, which poses some concerns for the trio.
Ever since welcoming their second child, Parker into the family, Jenkins expressed, “We did have a slight attention to the fact that our kids might be perceived differently. We didn’t want them to become a target of teasing or bullying or online abuse”. He also added, “We’ve had zero pushback from anyone in our professional and personal lives“. Jenkins also mentioned how Piper is now in kindergarten, with other parents and kids wanting to know the story of the throuple. “Cool! Tell us that story“, he described their reactions.
Even with people supporting their decisions, the biggest obstacle came before Piper’s birth due to restrictive laws disallowing the throuple from creating a family through surrogacy. For people wondering whats the story of how the three gay men obtained legal rights as fathers, Alan Mayfield spoke to “The Morning Show”, “The big challenge for us was the legal challenges”. It’s worth noting that Mayfield was in a relationship with Jenkins for 17 years.
Mayfield continued, “So with surrogacy you have to have a parentage order from the court, declaring who will be the legal parents”. He also stated the uncertainty of all the three of them getting their names on the birth certificate, which then became a court process.
Mayfield stated, “We argued in court – it was a pretty interesting, tense courtroom scene”. He then went on stating, “At first it seemed we were not going to be granted that, so we asked to speak in court and pled out viewpoint and the judge ultimately changed her mind and granted us legal parentage for our child before she was born”.
Jeremy Allen Hodges stated how important it was for them to have their three names on their children’s birth certificates. He stated, “We all have jobs, we all have pensions with our jobs and health insurance and those kinds of things, and if you’re not listed as your child’s legal parents, then they’re not able to receive those benefits”. Hodges also added, “If our child, God forbid, was to end up in the hospital, one of the parents might not be able to go visit them”.
Hodges also expressed how thankful he was to live in California, a state which allowed them to obtain legal rights regarding their children’s certificates. Although, Ian Jenkins did bring up how privileged they are compared to most other people struggling under the same circumstances the throuple once had. He hopes that those people will be seen and heard in order for them to be entitled to build a family just like anyone else does.
Jenkins also expressed gratitude, stating, “I really worry about someone who lives somewhere that’s not as accepting as California and wants to live this kind of life and can’t move”. He also added, “I’m hoping this starts the wheels turning that families come in lots of different arrangements”.
Ian Jenkins has now published a book about their journey, called “Three Dads and a Baby: Adventures in Modern Parenting”, which contains the story of the throuple’s family. Jenkins stated that there were two main reasons for writing this book:
- “One, we wanted everyone to know that love makes a family and families may look different but if you care about your kids and you’re doing everything you can to give them the best possible childhood that’s what matters”.
- “Number two was we wanted people in non-traditional families to know that there could be more legal protections available to them and help keep this process moving so that more parents would have the kind of protections we are enjoying”.
The book is available now for those impelled to read or know about the unique family.