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Here in the United States where surrogacy is an increasingly common way to start or add to a family, it is easy sometimes to forget that surrogacy is not a legal option in many other developed countries throughout the world. In France, surrogacy arrangements are illegal. The law is based on the government’s assertion that surrogacy would commercialize women’s bodies.
However, the country’s legislators voted recently that, despite France’s stance on the legality of surrogacy, French children born with the help of surrogates in other countries should be recognized as the intended parents’ children when they return to France as a family unit. Their argument for legitimizing such children is that, although surrogacy is illegal in France, it remains legal in other countries. To punish innocent children for the way they were conceived simply makes no sense.
Despite the vote to legitimize children born through surrogacy, the government is resisting the change. Instead of automatically recognizing the child’s intended parents as his or her mother and father, the government wants to simply recognize the biological father on a certificate and allow the child’s other parent to formally adopt him or her, obtaining parental rights in that way.
This option would obviously impact lesbian couples who conceive through surrogacy, as well as any couple using a sperm donor, as neither parent would be the biological father to the child.
This amendment came right before the introduction of another bill proposing legalization of IVF for lesbians and single women in France. Despite an overwhelming amount of opposition earlier in the month by demonstrators, that bill still passed 359-114 in the lower house of the National Assembly on October 12. It must still go to the Senate for debate, but many in France are eagerly awaiting a positive outcome.
France is steeped in tradition and these two new proposed changes have caused quite a bit of debate in the country recently. We will keep a close eye on any new developments.
If you are considering using surrogacy to add to your family, The Surrogacy Law Center can help protect your interests, and the interests of your future children. To learn more, contact our office today.