Listen Download Podcast
  • RFI English News flash 04h00 - 04h10 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 12/06 04h00 GMT
  • Paris Live AM 04h10 - 04h30 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 12/06 04h10 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 05h00 - 05h10 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 12/06 05h00 GMT
  • Paris Live AM 05h10 - 05h30 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 12/06 05h10 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 06h00 - 06h10 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 12/06 06h00 GMT
  • Paris Live AM 06h10 - 06h30 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 12/06 06h10 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 06h30 - 06h33 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 12/06 06h30 GMT
  • Paris Live AM 06h33 - 06h59 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 12/06 06h33 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 07h00 - 07h10 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 12/06 07h00 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 07h30 - 07h33 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 12/06 07h30 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 14h00 - 14h03 GMT Sat-Sun
    News bulletin 12/04 14h00 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 14h00 - 14h06 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 12/06 14h00 GMT
  • Paris Live Weekend 14h03 - 14h30 GMT Sat-Sun
    Features and analysis 12/04 14h03 GMT
  • Paris Live PM 14h06 - 14h30 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 12/06 14h06 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 14h30 - 14h33 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 12/06 14h30 GMT
  • Paris Live PM 14h33 - 14h59 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 12/06 14h33 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 16h00 - 16h03 GMT Sat-Sun
    News bulletin 12/04 16h00 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 16h00 - 16h06 GMT Sat-Sun
    News bulletin 12/06 16h00 GMT
  • Paris Live Weekend 16h03 - 16h30 GMT Sat-Sun
    Features and analysis 12/04 16h03 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 16h30 - 16h33 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 12/06 16h30 GMT
  • Paris Live Weekend 16h33 - 17h00 GMT Sat-Sun
    Features and analysis 12/04 16h33 GMT
To take full advantage of multimedia content, you must have the Flash plugin installed in your browser. To connect, you need to enable cookies in your browser settings. For an optimal navigation, the RFI site is compatible with the following browsers: Internet Explorer 8 and above, Firefox 10 and +, Safari 3+, Chrome 17 and + etc.
Europe

European human rights court orders France to recognise surrogate-mother children

media Sylvie and Dominique Mennesson with twins Valentina and Fiorella in 2000 AFP

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.

Related
 
Sorry but the period of time connection to the operation is exceeded.