November 28, 2022

Children of surrogate mothers are not French, court rules

A drama surrounding twins born overseas to a surrogate mother has raised hopes of legalising surrogacy in France. The nation’s highest court this week denied citizenship to twin girls, the children of Dominique and Sylvie Mennesson. They were born in 2000 to a surrogate mother in California from sperm from Mr Mennesson and a donated egg from a friend of Mrs Mennesson. A San Diego court decided that the girls had French citizenship under state laws.

A drama surrounding twins born overseas to
a surrogate mother has raised hopes of legalising surrogacy in France. The
nation’s highest court this week denied citizenship to twin girls, the children
of Dominique and Sylvie Mennesson. They were born in 2000 to a surrogate mother
in California from sperm from Mr Mennesson and a donated egg from a friend of
Mrs Mennesson. A San Diego court decided that the girls had French citizenship
under state laws.

However, French authorities disagreed and a
decade-long legal battle ensued. A lower court removed the twins from the civil
registry. The parents appealed, but finally lost in the Court of Cassation. The
court decided that recognition of filiation is against French law, although
nothing prevents the children from living with the couple.

The Mennessons were crestfallen at the
verdict and declared that they will appeal to the European Court of Human
Rights. France is debating a law on bioethics, but the current draft does not
even mention surrogacy.

A lawyer who specialises in cases of
surrogacy, Caroline Mécary, said
that several hundred children are living in France without citizenship because
their surrogate mothers were not French.

Dominique
Mennesson told Le
Monde
that it was an appalling outcome. “This means that the twins will always remain ghosts and are
deprived of all rights associated with French registration. As they did not
have French nationality, when they come of age, they may not remain on French
territory. When they grow up, as for residency, employment, voting, they will
have none of the rights of the French and the Europeans because they are
Americans according to this decision.” ~ AP,
Apr 7

Michael Cook
France
surrogacy