Sunday, April 10, 2011

Surrogate Twins Denied French Citizenship

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 M├ęcary, 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

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