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Assisted Reproduction

French Families Sue State to Recognize Surrogate Births

From reporter Philippe Sotto’s article this morning for the AP:

Friday’s case could change how surrogate births are handled in France, where infertility treatments are highly regulated. Until now, children born abroad to surrogate mothers have been denied French birth certificates and a means to prove citizenship.

Last year, Europe’s top human rights court ordered France to change the law, saying France’s refusal to recognize the children was “an attack on the child’s identity, for which descent is an essential component.” France has yet to comply.

Infertile and same-sex couples who want a family have limited options in France. For-profit sperm banks are forbidden, as is surrogate parenthood, because both are seen as commercializing the human body. All sperm and egg donations must be anonymous and from someone who is already a parent.

The high court ruled in 2013, the same year that France legalized gay marriage, that surrogate babies were born fraudulently and could not receive birth certificates even if the biological father was French.

Children born abroad to a French parent are otherwise automatically granted a French birth certificate in addition to whatever citizenship is conferred by the birth country.

“For France, these are neither my children nor my husband’s,” said Sarah Levine, a Denver native who is married to a Frenchman and is the mother of two children born to surrogate mothers in the United States. “According to French law, we are nothing.”

A gay couple with two children born to surrogate mothers in Russia has challenged the law. In both cases, the Russian birth certificates bear the names of the French fathers and the Russian mothers.

At court on Friday, Patrick Spinosi, a lawyer arguing on behalf of parents, said French courts had to resolve “the deafening silence of legislators.” He described the 200 children involved as “ghosts of the Republic.”

Jean-Claude Marin, a lawyer for the government, condemned the “commodification of women’s bodies,” although he said he would not oppose recognizing children whose French fathers can prove a biological link.

The court plans to rule on July 3.


2 comments for “French Families Sue State to Recognize Surrogate Births”

  • Dominique Mennesson

    The article is not totally correct. The question is not about citizenship. It has been solved by the “circulaire Taubira” wich has been confirmed by the highest administrative court of France in last December.

    The question is the legal parentage to mention in the French central civil records, ie how to apply the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights of june 2014. Up to now, the French highest court refused to mention any legal parentage in case of surrogacy. ECHR condamed France because this attitude violated the rights of the surrogate children.

  • Dr Nimish Shelat

    I do not agree with the above post.

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