Ian Jenkins and his partners, Alan and Jeremy, identify as a “throuple.”
The three belong to a committed polyamorous relationship that includes the three of them.
The Southern California trio raises two toddlers amid a tough and expensive court battle.
According to CNN, the modern family includes three dads, two surrogates, and one egg donor. In the new book, “Three Dads and a Baby,” Jenkin details their search for potential egg donors and a surrogate and a fight to change the medical and legal systems set up for heterosexual couples.
The trio has been together for over eight years, and Jenkins said they have fought to get their names added to their children’s birth certificates to protect their parental rights and the rights of the two.
The process has been an emotional roller coaster for the family, “But we are hopeful that other people benefit from the experience we had,” Jenkins told CNN in a recent interview, “and that it’s easier, less expensive, and less stressful for them.”
Jenkins also spoke about the troubles he faced after coming out about his sexuality. He never thought he would be able to love another man.
“I was completely isolated. I didn’t know a single gay person when I was in high school,” he says. “I thought I’d never be able to live an authentic life.
“It never occurred to me that people could even have two partners,” he added.
After a decade of being in a relationship with Alan, Jenkins brought forth the idea of getting another man into their relationship, and that’s when they met Jeremy online. They became a trio in 2012, the outlet added.
It was Alan who brought up the possibility of having kids several times. However, the numerous surrogacy and parenting issues they faced were a bit much.
“We knew he was right, but we never took the first step. Then Jeremy entered the picture: a zookeeper and nurturer by trade,” Jenkins writes in the book. “With a third voice at the table, our conversations about parenting began to change.”
Eventually, they went to one of Alan’s female childhood friends who offered to be an egg donor, with one exception, that she remained in the children’s lives as an aunt figure, Jenkins said.
Instead of paying her for her donations, they chose to pay for her travel expenses to visit them at least once a year. Shortly after, another female friend agreed to be a surrogate for the men.
On the way to parenthood, many other issues arose, including lawyers, paperwork, and money. Over the next few months, Jenkins said the family spent nearly 121,000 on legal expenses, contracts, and medical procedures.
“Gay couples don’t stumble into parenthood by accident,” he writes in the book. “It’s always a deliberate act, and a complicated one.”
In addition to the numerous legal contracts with the surrogates involved, the men also had to face the challenge of getting their names on their firstborn’s birth certificate. Because the men aren’t married, they each had to hire a separate lawyer to create a parenting agreement.
In California, a third parent can be placed on the certificate after a child’s birth if it can be proved that recognizing only two parents would be detrimental to the child.
Only putting two parents on the certificate would deny the third dad legal of the child. It would also force the three men to make a wrenching decision about who was going on the certificate.
During a hearing to address the matter, the three men explained why it was important that all three of them were added as parents to the birth certificate.
Luckily, their pleas worked.
“We could just see in her (the judge’s) face that something had changed, that she wouldn’t feel comfortable denying one of us parenthood,” Jenkins says. “And we could tell right then that she was going to find some way to make it work out for us.”
The judge ruled in the trio’s favor before their daughter Piper was born in 2017. They now have a son, Parker, who was born two years later. However, the family didn’t face a legal battle with Parker because the court took care of this issue.