These three dads fought tooth and nail to get their names on their children’s birth certificates – and they did it.
“The fact that Piper has three parents is just not a big deal. I have three parents myself – my mother, father and my stepmother – and no one thinks anything of it,” says one of the three fathers, Ian Jenkins, a doctor.
He’s one third of a polyamorous trio from California which also includes zookeeper Jeremy Hodges and psychiatrist Alan Mayfield.
Ian and Alan met at medical school and were a couple for eight years before they decided to invite their friend, Jeremy, into a romantic relationship.
The trio became a throuple, and later started discussing parenthood.
“Gay couples don’t stumble into parenthood by accident. It’s always a deliberate act, and a complicated one,” Ian says.
In their book, Three Dads and a Baby, they detailed their reproductive journey to welcoming their first child Piper in 2017 and becoming poly-throuple parents.
Their process into parenthood didn’t come cheap, and the trio spent more than $120 000 (now about R1,8 million) on implantations, tests, legal fees and contracts.
A friend of theirs, Delilah, offered to be their surrogate, and when the fertilisation process didn’t work, another friend of theirs, Meghan, donated her eggs.
“We had to have contracts between each man and Delilah. Then, when another fertilisation cycle had to be planned [with Meghan], the contracts had to be redone,” Ian recalls.
An additional $500 (R7 500) per hour was required to complete the complex legal process – one that heterosexual couples often don’t undergo, Ian says.
“And the requirement is to pay four lawyers [one to represent each father, plus one for the surrogate] to craft a parenting agreement, which no straight couple has probably ever been asked to sign.”
Shortly before Piper was born, they won the right to their poly-birth certificate. “Had we not won, one of us three parents would be a legal nobody to the kids,” says Ian, adding that would have meant one of the dads would have “no right to visitation if we split up. No ability to consent for medical care. No say in decisions. No legal responsibilities. No automatic inheritance. This would have been really risky for the family”.
Piper, now three, proudly boasts about her trio of dads at pre-school.
“You have two parents. I have three,” the tot once said to a classmate.
In 2020, the couple welcomed their second child, Parker.
“We all bring something different. Alan is the best at
reading books, with an accent and backstory for every character,” shares Ian.
“Jeremy is the creative dad, who makes bath bombs and special lunches for the kids. Ian is often the family cook, and the resident fort-maker.”
Piper and Parker also understand their parent’s relationship, Ian says. “I’m Papa, Alan is Dada and Jeremy is Daddy,” says Ian.
“We’re a family of three men, but the heart of the story is the love of women. Thank you, mothers, for our treasured children.”