Piper and Parker live a happy childhood. But there's something different about their life: the lovely children have not two, but three parents. Ian, Jeremy, and Alan are a throuple raising their kids together - but it hasn't always been easy...
Meet Ian Jenkins
This is Ian Jenkins, the man who had so much love to give that he chose to have two partners. And together, this throuple did something probably never done before in American history. But doing so was a long and difficult road.
Yet, for Ian, there is nothing extraordinary about this story. "What's exotic is that we actually did it - made a life many people think of as an unattainable dream, but we're ordinary people otherwise," Jenkins claimed. But let's rewind about seventeen years to when his journey really began.
This Is Alan
At the time of this article's writing, Ian was a doctor living in San Diego with his family. But long before that, over seventeen years before to be exact, Jenkins was a medical resident in Boston, Massachusetts. And that's how Alan became a part of this unique love story.
When Ian was a resident in Boston, destiny had plans for him outside of medicine: Alan Mayfield. In 2003, Alan was a third-year medical student assigned to intern under Ian. But the pair soon realized they were meant to be much more than a mentor and mentee.
They Fell in Love
Ian and Alan kept things professional at first, but then sparks started flying. There was undeniable chemistry between the two men, and it didn't take long for them to admit it. So the pair started going on dates and getting to know one another. And that marked the start of their great adventures.
Alan and Ian got along well and were over-the-moon in love. The men eventually moved to San Diego, California, where they continued building a life together. Alan put his degree in clinical psychology to use, and Ian worked at a hospital and taught at a university.
Something (or Someone) Was Missing
So Alan and Ian were head-over-heels for one another. The two men were dedicated to building a strong and healthy relationship that would last the long term. And so far, they were doing exactly that. The couple felt happy in the beautiful union they built together.
But eight years into the relationship, something changed. Ian and Alan were still in love and faithful to each other, but they realized that their bond could grow even stronger by opening up to other people. So the lovebirds pondered the idea of dating someone else together... and in comes Jeremy.
Jeremy Joins the Picture
Ian and Alan jumped on a dating website to explore what - or better put, who - was out there. After talking with different people, the couple met the now 38-year-old Jeremy Hodges. It didn't take long for both love bugs to take a liking to their new friend.
Jeremy, essential personnel for a San Diego zoo hospital, likely didn't expect to end up in a throuple when surfing different dating websites. Or maybe he did. Either way, it soon seemed obvious that the universe had a plan for him that involved more than one significant other.
It Felt Like a Perfect Match
Ian and Alan wanted to have a non-monogamous relationship, but they also wanted to date someone together, not as individuals. So it was important that whoever the men met was a good match for both of them. And Jeremy turned out to be the perfect addition to their relationship.
Fortunately, Jeremy felt the same way. And so Ian and Alan transitioned from a duo to a throuple. The three men got along splendidly and were soon all in love with one another. They even moved in together and started planning their future. But it took work and dedication.
Making It Work
Sustaining a relationship between two people can already be tough at times. So we imagine that adding another person to the mix could make things complicated. But Ian, Alan, and Jeremy were committed to making it work, and so they figured out their four keys to throuple success.
So what were the men's secrets to making a three-way relationship work? They committed to being completely honest, having constant communication, and absolutely no jealousy. And while some might think the idea of a throuple is wild, to them, it was natural.
Ian Thought They Were Ordinary
"I really love pizza, and I also love ice cream, and there's not anything wrong with one or the other," Ian explained of why a throuple felt natural. "It's possible to love more than one food and want both of them in your life. Most people understand that because very few of us know someone who's only had one partner their entire life."
And while some might think that a three-person relationship would be extraordinarily wild, he found that laughable. "It's a bit amusing to me because we're so domestic and ordinary," Ian said. Little did he know, his family was far from finished growing.
Jeremy Dreamed of Fatherhood
In many ways, Ian and Alan's relationship didn't change much with Jeremy's joining. Honesty, continual communication, and lack of jealousy were staples in their bond even before they became a throuple. But Jeremy brought more love and joy... and the idea of children.
Jeremy knew he definitely wanted to be a father and eventually have little ones running around their love-filled home. Alan was on a similar page and wasn't shy to broach the subject over the years. But Ian felt more skeptical about the idea of having children.
Ian Was Skeptical
So what exactly kept Ian from diving head-first into fatherhood? For starters, he worried about how having kids would change their flourishing throuple. Could it ruin things? How would it affect their three-way balance if the trio added more people into the picture?
But that wasn't all. There was also the logistical side of having children as an all-men throuple. Would they adopt or create an embryo? Who would they get eggs from? Who would host the pregnancy? And who would be the father? Thinking about all of this could get overwhelming.
A Turning Point
As an all-men throuple in a society where most people were in monogamous relationships, having children felt like a complicated and long project. All of the logistics involved in having babies led the trio to put the idea aside for many years. And then everything changed.
Ian, Alan, and Jeremy had all three been together for years when the throuple encountered an intriguing opportunity. They were at a barbecue hosted by friends who had three children through IVF and made a generous offer: to donate their unused frozen embryos to the men.
Something Went Wrong
If the throuple's loving friends donated their frozen embryos, then starting a family would be a lot easier. Jeremy, Ian, and Alan would just need to find someone to carry their baby. So the men decided to go for it and accepted the unexpected donation.
The happy throuple was ecstatic. While Ian had been skeptical, he grew to like the idea and had faith that their three-way relationship could survive the transition into fatherhood. But when something suddenly went wrong, Ian, Jeremy, and Alan turned to a different friend named Meghan.
Finding New Eggs
It turned out that the frozen embryos belonging to their generous friends were no longer viable. The throuple's first attempt at surrogate pregnancy did not work out. But by that point, they were committed to the idea of having children and had to figure out another plan.
And so, Meghan became a part of their future family. The woman was a long-time friend of Alan and grew close to both his partners. She agreed to donate her eggs for two rounds of IVF treatment, and a surrogate was hired to carry the baby. One question remained: who would be the dad?
Who Would Be the Dad?
So they had a major setback when the frozen embryos turned out not to be usable. But the partners handled it like total bosses and quickly found another way to make their family happen. It was decided that Meghan would be the biological mom and another wonderful woman would carry the child.
But Meghan donated eggs, not embryos, which meant that they needed to find someone to give their sperm. Would they look for a stranger to donate theirs, or would one of the future dads be the biological father? Alan, Ian, and Jeremy ultimately decided to all three give their sperm and let nature decide who the biological dad would be.
Piper Is Born
Fast forward roughly nine months, and the throuple welcomed their first child: a baby girl who they named Piper. The newborn made her debut into the world in June 2019. And who did the biological father end up being? Jeremy turned out to be Piper's biological dad.
But all three men became Piper's fathers."It's not that wild," Ian said of being throuple parents. "My stepmother is a valued parent of [my life]. She was definitely a major force in raising me. The only difference here is that we all live in the same house, and we all love each other." But the legal system didn't see it the same way.
A Special Birth Certificate
The nine months leading up to Piper's birth were far from simple. While some parents can enjoy the pregnancy journey in all of its glory and at most battle horrid morning sickness, it was a totally different story for this throuple. Ian, Alan, and Jeremy faced legal battles on their road to fatherhood.
It all started when the throuple made a decision that felt natural to them: all three of their names would be on the newborn's birth certificate. But as it turned out, there was at that time no record of any birth certificate in the U.S. that had three parents listed on it.
It seemed obvious to the three men that all of them should be listed on their child's birth certificate. After all, they shared everything evenly and planned on sharing the responsibilities of raising Piper, too. But without precedent, it would be hard to have all of them on the certificate.
According to attorneys they spoke with, there were cases where grandparents, new partners, and step-parents had their names added to a child's birth certificate after the birth. But there were no cases of a three-name form on the day of birth. This was non-negotiable for the throuple. What would they do?
They Hired an Attorney
Piper was on the way, and the throuple was not ready to give up. They were all three committed to raising their daughter no matter what, but the men wanted the legal recognition that would make raising her as a trio much more simple. Everything from finances to school pick-ups could be affected.
And so, the throuple hired an attorney to petition a surrogacy court judge in San Diego. They hoped the judge would rule in their favor and allow for the birth certificate to list all three names. But sadly, that did not happen. Instead, the legal battle continued.
The judge ruled against the petition because of a lack of precedent. Alan, Jeremy, and Ian wanted to become the precedent for future polyamorous families and did not give up on their fight. The men asked their attorney to appeal the decision and try again.
"I didn't want a court battle," Jenkins said. "I just wanted to be a dad." All three of them did in every sense of the word. So back to court they went. And the judge, who initially suggested the throuple put two parents and add the third years after the birth, eventually agreed. This was a very big (and expensive) deal.
A Happy (but Expensive) Result
The win was certainly a reason to celebrate. The judge's ruling meant that Ian, Jeremy, and Alan were all listed on Piper's birth certificate as soon as the baby girl was born. But by the time the whole legal ordeal was over, the throuple racked up quite the bill.
Hiring a trustworthy attorney wasn't the only expensive the trio had to pay for. The IVF treatments for Meghan and paying another person to carry the child were also pricey necessities. All in all, the throuple spent over $120,000 in medical and legal fees. This motivated Ian to take further action for future poly parents.
Ian's Other Passion
All three fathers were beyond grateful that they could afford to have a child in their unique situation. But the idea of other LGBT+ couples or poly parents with fewer resources being stopped from having a family angered them. Luckily, Ian had a passion outside of medicine that would serve as an outlet for these emotions.
The doctor loved writing. "Maybe it's because I had a stepmother who was a librarian," he said. "But I've always been drawn to literature and stories." Ian was already a pro at writing research papers related to the medical field. But now, he embarked on a much more personal project. And this would bring its own set of relationship challenges.
Put to the Test
Ian wanted to write a book about the throuple's experiences with having their first child. "We want to remind everyone that love makes a family, and if it doesn't look like the one next door, that doesn't make it strange," he explained. But writing a book when one has two partners wasn't simple.
The project was a sort of test of their honesty and communication. Ian had to be sensitive to his partners' wishes. The three men decided together what would and would not be included in the book. The throuple ultimately resolved not to include anything that happened in the bedroom. But the book would soon make headlines for other reasons.
"Three Dads and a Baby"
Ian titled his book Three Dads and a Baby, and the throuple's story blew people away. The men were even invited to speak about their relationship and fatherhood on popular talk shows. And they made sure to bring attention to how expensive and inaccessible the whole thing was for many people.
But they also wanted to just spread the story for other nontraditional families to learn of the throuple's legal victory and feel encouraged to take on their own court battles. "We do hope that people might benefit from telling our story," Ian said. "We want the word to get out so people can press their case." But that wasn't the end of Ian, Alan, and Jeremy's journey.
The throuple's family wasn't done growing. With Meghan's eggs and a new surrogate, Alan, Jeremy, and Ian prepared to become fathers-of-two. In June of 2019, the loving parents welcomed baby boy Parker into the world. They planned on teaching both kids exactly how each of them was born.
In fact, Piper already knew! "We've told her, 'They took a little bit of Daddy Jeremy, and they took a little bit of Mama Meghan, and they put you in our surrogate, Delilah, and she helped you grow for nine months, and when you came out she gave you to us, and we're your three dads," Ian said. So is it strange for the child?
An Easier Experience
According to Ian, Piper's birth story is a non-issue. "It doesn't confuse her in the slightest. She has met and loves both her surrogate and her biological moms," he shared. And having those conversations with Piper would make it easier the day that Parker's turn to learn came around.
In fact, thanks to the throuple's journey in birthing Piper, everything in Parker's birth was easier. Ian said that having their second child was "a breeze" compared to the first. There were no legal battles to be won, no birth certificates to fight over, and a parenting agreement was already in place. But that didn't mean all troubles were behind them.
Monogamy Is "Weird"
In sharing their family's unique story with the world and the media, there were, of course, haters. Some people didn't believe that the throuple's lifestyle was correct. But for Ian, it was the idea of monogamy that didn't make sense. "I'm pretty sure it's lifelong monogamy that's weird," he stated.
Ian continued, "Our culture is filled with all of these stories about longing and infidelity. It's natural for us to feel affections for more than one person." And for the father-of-two, raising his little ones with Alan and Jeremy is as good as it gets; the throuple is loving their life.
Living an Ordinary Dream
Ian, Alan, and Jeremy loved transitioning from a throuple to being a family of five. Their children brought so much joy and laughter into the home. And they made sure to take Piper and Parker on plenty of adventures: hiking around San Diego and meeting new people.
At the end of the day, Ian didn't think there was anything extraordinary about their family and lifestyle. "It's not normal, compared to what other people go through," he said of the whole experience of birthing their children. "But it still feels completely natural." And in this natural fam, they were very intentional in how they educated their kids.
Raising Their Kids
The throuple's primary goal was likely to make sure that both their children were happy and healthy. But the loving men also wanted their kids to be good humans and contributors to the world. Because of this, they tried to create a feminist and anti-racist household.
"I want my daughter to know that she's as tough as anyone and can do anything she sets her mind to," Ian explained. And lucky for Piper, she has three dads and two maternal figures (Meghan and her surrogate) to help out with that. But the best part of being parents in a throuple?
The Best Part
For Ian, Alan, and Jeremy, raising their kids with two fathers meant that each child got plenty of attention. And, equally as exciting, it meant that all three fathers had equal responsibilities in child-rearing. It was arguably harder to get burnt out with six hands on deck.
And for them, those were the best parts of being a parenting throuple. And splitting duties equally also meant that none of the men had to do the same tasks every day, which kept things exciting. Some nights Alan did bedtime, Jeremy cooked, and Ian bathed them. Then they mixed it up. So only one question remained...
Do They Want More?
So the throuple was over-the-moon experiencing fatherhood with their two little ones. Some couldn't help but wonder: would they bring another baby into the world? According to Ian, the lovebugs were not interested in having more children at the time of this article's writing.
The dads loved that their kids had the same biological mom. But reaching 40 years old, Meghan couldn't donate eggs for a surrogate to carry anymore. But who knows, maybe the throuple will change their mind in the future... We'll make sure to stay in the loop.