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France: No citizenship to children born by surrogacy abroad

The country’s highest court has ruled that children of French nationals born though surrogacy outside of the state cannot claim French citizenship.

Image: Katie Collins/PA Wire/Press Association Images

FRANCE’S TOP COURT has refused to give French nationality to children born of surrogate mothers abroad.

The Court of Cassation has upheld a lower court’s ruling on the case of twin girls who were born to an American surrogate mother but have French parents.

The lower court refused to inscribe the twins in France’s civil register, which is a basic requirement for obtaining essential documents in France including identity cards or passports.

The French government does not recognise surrogacy. France Soir reports that the woman who gives birth is the legally recognised mother, meaning a surrogate would be seen as a child’s parent and the genetic mother has no rights. The father would also be recognised as a parent – a situation which poses potential custodial issues in cases of death or divorce.

The case was taken by Sylvie and Dominique Mennesson, whose twin daughters were born to a surrogate in California in 2000. The country’s lower court originally ruled that the children could not be registered on the French civil register – a verdict that was upheld today, reports Expatica.com. Following the ruling, the couple said they were “devastated” and added: “once again the rights of our children have not been respected”.

Last week, in a separate case, a family was stopped by border police when trying to smuggle their twin baby daughters across the border from Ukraine into Hungary.

“We are not child traffickers, we are their parents,” the French mother told The Associated Press, speaking on condition her name not be used because she was afraid that publicity would hurt her children. “We tried to cross the border out of despair and love for our little girls without knowing what would happen.”

Additional reporting by AP

Read more: French family detained for smuggling two infants >

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