A gay throuple have opened up about their incredible legal battle to be legally recognised as their children’s fathers.
Ian Jenkins, Alan Mayfield and Jeremy Allen Hodges were all successfully listed on their daughter’s birth certificate in 2017 after a historic intervention by a California court.
Jenkins has now written a book, titled Three Dads and a Baby, about their extraordinary experience.
The dads appeared on The Morning Show on Australia’s Channel 7 on Wednesday (17 February) to discuss their unconventional family.
They decided to speak out about their experience so other non-conventional families know that they too can fight for better legal protections.
The gay throuple first got together when Ian met Alan, and they later met Jeremy. They decided to start a family together when a friend of Jeremy’s offered to give them embryos.
Those embryos didn’t end up taking, but the experience helped the men realise how badly they wanted to have children. They went on to find an egg donor and a surrogate, helping them become proud parents to Piper, three, and Parker, who is just one and a half years old.
Gay 'throuple’ who created legal history after being allowed to name three dads on their children’s birth certificates speak out about their unique family 👨🏻👨🏻👨🏻👶🏻👶🏻 pic.twitter.com/1rDF0p2Fi3
— The Morning Show (@morningshowon7) February 17, 2021
To their kids, Alan is known as Dada, Ian is Papa and Jeremy is Daddy.
“The big challenge for us was really the legal challenges, so with surrogacy, you have to have a parentage order from the court declaring who are going to be the legal parents,” Alan explained.
“In the beginning we weren’t sure that we could have all three of us on the brith certificate so it became a court process where we argued in court.
“It was a pretty interesting, tense courtroom scene where at first it seemed like we were not going to be granted that, and we asked to speak in court and plead our viewpoint, and the judge ultimately changed her mind and granted us legal parentage of our child before she was born.”
Gay throuple dads wanted to be legally recognised as parents.
Jeremy said it was “really important” to them that all three dads were named on their children’s birth certificates.
“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,” he said.
“If our child, God forbid, was to end up in hospital, one of the parents might not be able to go visit them.”
He added: “It was really important to be recognised as the family that we are, and thankfully we live in California which is a state that, after some teeth pulling and fighting, actually did allow us to do that, so that was amazing.”
The men are generally happy to fly under the radar and focus on raising their children, but Ian wanted to help educate others about their legal battle.
“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,” he said.
“We wanted people who are 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 protection we’re enjoying.”