A polyamorous throuple of three men in California, who set legal precedent in the country by having all their names listed on their children’s birth certificates, are releasing a book about their experience. It’s a disturbing sign of the breakdown of traditional families and an out-of-control fertility industry.
“Three Men and a Baby” was a popular movie released in 1987 about three bachelors who find a baby on their doorstep and a note attached explaining that one of them is the father. Hijinks and ineptness ensue as the men figure out how to take care of the baby girl and eventually embrace fatherhood. In 2020, three men are living out this reality, but instead of being bachelors, the men are in a polyamorous throuple who utilized the fertility industry to create two children.
Consisting of Dr. Ian Jenkins, 45, and his partners Alan Mayfield and Jeremy Allen Hodges, the throuple made legal history when they successfully argued to a judge that all three should be named on their children’s birth certificates in 2017. Now, Dr. Jenkins is writing a book about their story and giving tips about how to develop a “consistent parenting style.”
Entitled “Three Dads and a Baby,” the book will be published in March 2021.
The synopsis reads, “As a closeted teen, Ian wondered if he would ever fall in love or be able to live openly with a male partner. Years later, he had not one but two partners in a polyamorous Throuple, and the support of family, friends, and coworkers. But something was still missing. Spurred by a friend’s donation of two embryos, Ian and his partners embarked on a sometimes hilarious, sometimes tearful quest to become parents.
“Along the way, they faced IVF failures, the threat of Zika virus, a battle at their clinic that forced them into an urgent hunt for a new doctor, pregnancy-threatening bleeds, costly legal battles and a reluctant superior court judge. Ultimately the grace of women—embryo donors, their egg donor, their surrogate, even a surprise milk donor—allowed them to complete their family with one perfect girl. And in fighting for their family, they set a legal precedent, and became the first polyamorous family ever named as the legal parents of a child.”
This throuple demonstrates both the problems within the fertility industry and how the 2015 Obergefell same-sex marriage case continues to erode the biblical concept of marriage in this country.
In many ways, the fertility industry is considered the “wild west” of law and medicine, as there are few regulations and legal guidelines that practitioners have to follow, especially in the case of surrogacy.
According to the throuple, the egg was donated by a friend and another offered her body for use as a surrogate. Though children are a precious gift from God, the use of surrogacy in particular distorts this by allowing the commodification of women’s bodies and the lives of children.
The practice is so rife with potential abuse, that many countries have banned it altogether or only allow it in very narrow circumstances with no monetary compensation. The United States is one of only a few countries in the world that allows the practice of paying women for the use of their wombs, which attracts and exploits economically vulnerable women. The contracts they enter into with these often-wealthy individuals or couples can be restricting and demanding, including dictating what they can eat and where they can go.
It has resulted in chaos.
In one instance, a woman was asked for payment in exchange for the child she and her husband had naturally conceived while she was serving as a surrogate. She did not see her child for several weeks and the intended mother and the fertility agency considered giving the child up for adoption since legally the child belonged to her. Another woman discovered that the man she was carrying triplets for lived in “deplorable conditions” and was unlikely to have the mental capacity to care for the children. She sued to try and get custody of the children.
Sadly, surrogacy has also cost women their lives, including one woman who died in early 2020, leaving behind two children.
It’s also been a boon to gay couples who are unable to have children biologically because two men, or three men in this instance, cannot make a baby. This is often celebrated in the media, but it’s not a lifestyle beneficial to the child.
Katy Faust is the daughter of two lesbians and founded Them Before Us, an organization that advocates for the rights of children to have a mother and a father due, in part, to her own experience. Since children are a commodity that can be bought and paid for by anyone, there is little to no safety net for the child and they often lose out on knowing the woman who donated the egg, which is a dangerous process, and the woman who carried the child.
These precious children also can’t follow one of the most basic biblical commandments, “Honor your father and mother.”
The other troubling aspect of this story is what it means for the future of marriage in the U.S.
Ever since Obergefell, the sanctity of marriage has been under threat. All it takes is for one case to make its way up to the Supreme Court and potentially the “marriages” of throuples, polygamists, those that practice polyamory, and everything in-between could be legalized. Making three men the parents on the birth certificate, makes this argument easier. Since there are still groups practicing polygamy in the country, mostly variations of Mormonism, it’s not impossible to see that practice receive legal status at some point.
The normalization of situations like throuples and polyamory is a reflection of both how far our culture has fallen and how the sanctity of the family is routinely ignored or amended to suit the needs of adults, while ignoring the rights of children.
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