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European Human Rights Court Orders France to Recognize Children Born to Surrogate Mothers

francesurrogacyrightWhile surrogacy is still banned in France, today marks a huge step for French families with children born by surrogate mothers, as their children can now be legally recognized as their own. Read more about this wonderful new development below or at this link:

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ordered France to recognise children born to surrogate mothers abroad even though surrogacy is banned on French territory. Refusal to do so undermines children’s identity, the court ruled in cases brought by two French families.

France has the right to ban surrogate parenthood but not to refuse granting legal to parent-child relationships of children born to surrogate mothers, the ECHR ruled on Thursday.

The “legal guinea pigs”, as one father described them, were two families, the Mennessons and the Labassees, who have children born to surrogate mothers in the US, where the practise is legal in some states.

Twins, Valentina and Fiorella Menesson, were born in 2000 in California, having been conceived from their father’s sperm and a donor’s oocyte, and have US citizenship.

Juliette Labassee was born in Minnesota in 2001 in similar circumstances, and is also a US national.

Although a California court had recognised Dominique and Sylvie Menesson as the twins’ parents before their birth a long legal battle in France ended with the appeal court refusing the status.

Francis and Monique Labassee had appealed against an official refusal to recognise Juliette as their daughter.

The ECHR ruled that the French decision was an infringement of the children’s right to respect for their private life, while recognising France’s right to declare surrogacy illegal on its territory and its concern that French parents’ might go abroad to use the procedure.

The status quo “undermined the children’s identity within French society”, the court found and meant that their inheritance rights were less favourable than those of other children.

It ordered the French state to pay each of the children 5,000 euros as well as legal costs.

“This is a great relief,” declared Dominique Menesson after the judgement and he called on French authorities not to appeal against it.

The couple’s lawyer, Patrice Spinosi, claimed that 2,000 children are in the same situation as his clients’ children.

President François Hollande told Têtu magazine in 2012 that changing the current law could “open the way to surrogacy”.

The government has been loath to tackle the question since the right-wing campaign against its gay marriage bill, when opponents accused the Socialists of undermining the family and wanting to legalise medically assisted procreation.

Surrogacy is legal in some European countries, including the UK and the Netherlands, and in some states in the US.


7 comments for “European Human Rights Court Orders France to Recognize Children Born to Surrogate Mothers”

  • Dominique Mennesson

    We did it. It has been a long battle.

    • JS

      Congrats. Do you have an email for contact? Do you know if ruling applies to other EU countries or just France?

    • Andy Vorzimer

      Dominique, congratulations. This truly is one of the most significant rulings in this field in decades. The global impact will be profound and tens of thousands of future parents will forever be in your debt. Well done!!!!

  • Andrea

    To have children is a natural desicion of any person in the world. That case provens that surrogacy is good way. And government should not leave a chance to have a baby for people. It is good that there is a legislation on surrogacy in some countries. In my country it is also prohibited but i went to Biotexcom, in Ukraine, the managers helped to organise all the documents and travel pass for baby. I am very grateful to all that medical staff and managers who helped my dream to come true.

    • Dancer

      In my country surrogacy is prohibitted and for me it was a big tragedy, I was afraid of foreign countries and foreign legislation and I was afraid of frouds and it took a lot of forces to overcome it, I monitored the internet before I chose the Biotexcom clinic, which helped me to become a mother.

    • Amber

      Andrea, is it written in the agreement that clinic is responsible for child registration and all needed documents in order to leave Ukraine with baby? Cause there are a lot of cheater agencies which of course help to become a parent but finally you can be left with unregistered baby and big problems with legislation in foreign country.

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