Surrogate children ‘are not French’

Top appeal court says couple’s children born to a surrogate mother cannot be registered as their daughters in France

6 April 2011
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TOP appeal court the Cour de Cassation has decided that a French couple’s twins born in America to a surrogate mother cannot be officially registered as their daughters on the French état civil.

The ruling comes at the end of a long legal battle for Sylvie and Dominique Mennesson, whose daughters were born in 2000 in California, after a surrogate mother had embryos implanted, fertilised in a test-tube from Mr Mennesson’s sperm and eggs from a family friend.

Using a surrogate mother is not allowed under French law, though it is in many countries, including the UK.

The surrogate mother was paid $12,000 for carrying the children, who were registered as the couple’s under Californian law.

The decision contradicts an initially favourable opinion put out by the public prosecutor’s office of the court last year.

Being registered on the état civil would give the children French birth certificates and French nationality.

Mrs Mennesson said on Europe 1 television: “Once more the rights of our children have not been respected. We feel crushed. Our children are foreigners on French soil.”

She said she was not trying to legalise the use of surrogate mothers in France but simply to have France recognise the status of children living in France who were born elsewhere.

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