Three Legal Dads: Throuple Speak Out on Joys, Challenges of Their Family

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Wednesday March 17, 2021

The California throuple who accomplished the unique legal feat of getting all three men listed as fathers on their child's birth certificate have a new book and are speaking up about the joys and challenges of their family, reports UK newspaper the Daily Mail.

"Doctor Ian Jenkins, 45, and his partners Alan Mayfield and Jeremy Allen Hodges, from San Diego, made legal history in 2017 when a judge agreed to put them all on the birth certificate of daughter Piper," the newspaper recalled.

The men now have a second child in their family as well, despite the staggering price tag of becoming fathers the first time which, between legal and medical fees, amounted to $120,000, Daily Mail noted.

Though the committed trio say they are like any other family, bound by love and commitment, Dr. Jenkins also reckoned that he had "won the lottery" in terms of his personal satisfaction.

"I've got all these wonderful families accepting and loving us, and rejoicing in our children," Jenkins told People Magazine. "We have two beautiful kids. I have two more partners than I thought I might. For me, it's kind of like winning the lottery."

People sketched the throuple's history, recalling that "Jenkins and Mayfield, 43, met and fell in love while Mayfield was a third-year medical student" in Boston 17 years ago.

"By 2012, they'd moved to San Diego, and after meeting Hodges online, they brought him into their relationship."

The men accepted an offer from a friend of Mayfield's to be an egg donor; another friend volunteered to be a surrogate. The men welcomed Piper in 2017, and saw no reason why they shouldn't all be listed on Piper's birth certificate as her fathers.

"I didn't want a court battle," Dr. Jenkins told People. "I just wanted to be a dad."

"While at first the judge argued there was no legal precedent for such a unique circumstance, she eventually accepted their request," the Daily Mail summarized.

More recently, the men welcomed baby Parker, now 15 months old, to the family, using a different surrogate. All three are listed on Parker's birth certificate as his fathers.

As previously reported at EDGE, Jenkins has authored a book about their family. Last month, in comments made to an Australian morning talk show, Hodges said that all three men being listed as parents on their daughter's birth certificate was important for their family for the same mundane reasons it's important to any other family not to leave a parent off the document, noting that "all have pensions with our jobs and health insurance and those kinds of things," and adding, "If you're not listed as your child's legal parent then they're not able to receive those benefits."

Hodges also pointed out that without all three men being acknowledged as fathers, "one of the parents might not be able to go visit" a sick or injured child in the hospital.

"Three Dads and a Baby: Adventures in Modern Parenting," was published March 9.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.