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Italy refuses to register baby born to lesbian couple

23 April 2018
Appeared in BioNews 946

A lesbian couple in Italy has been asked to declare that their baby was naturally conceived in order to register him at the public records office. 

Chiara Foglietta, a municipal councillor for the city of Turin, gave birth to Niccolo Pietro on 13 April following artificial insemination in a Danish fertility clinic last year. But according to Italian law, Foglietta must claim her pregnancy resulted from sex with a man to get her son registered. 

'I don't want to give any false statements. My son has the right to know and hold his mothers to their responsibilities. This is the only way I have to protect him,' Foglietta told Italy's La Repubblica newspaper. 

Foglietta and her partner Micaela Ghisleni planned to start a family and raise Niccolo together. However, although Italy legalised civil unions in 2016 for same-sex couples, they are not permitted to access fertility treatment. Assisted reproduction is extremely tightly regulated in Italy: screening or freezing of embryos, gamete donation and surrogacy are allowed only for heterosexual couples with clinically diagnosed infertility. 

Italian registry offices have to work within a set of guidelines that completely ignore the possibility that the pregnancy resulted from assisted reproduction. Women – even those who legally had treatment within Italy – are obliged to declare that birth derives from 'a natural union with a man' in order to complete the registration. 

'I am aware no-one at the public records office can take this responsibility, but I expected the Turin mayor or the equal opportunity commissioner Marco Giusta to intervene in this case,' said Foglietta.

Turin's mayor, Chiara Appendino, who sent flowers to the couple, said: 'The law currently does not provide for recognition of the sons and daughters of homosexual couples born in Italy. Personally I am in favour and willing to proceed with registration, but with this current legal vacuum the rights of the parents and children cannot be guaranteed.'

Appendino said she was committed to act on the issue, and plans to work with all the relevant institutions, local authorities and associations to find a resolution.

13 May 2019 - by Antony Starza-Allen 
Italy's highest court has ruled that the non-biological father of two children born through surrogacy overseas cannot be named as the children's legal parent...
30 April 2018 - by Jen Willows 
The strict laws on assisted reproduction in Malta are set to be liberalised in a bill put forward in Parliament this month, although embryo destruction will remain illegal...
9 April 2018 - by Antony Starza-Allen 
The Mississippi Supreme Court has overturned a ruling that an anonymous sperm donor has parental rights over a child born to a lesbian couple, upholding the legal parenthood of the non-biological mother...
8 January 2018 - by Dr Lanay Griessner 
Germany's Federal Court of Justice has ruled that the a trans woman must be registered as her child's legal father and not its mother.
18 December 2017 - by Georgia Everett 
A woman has asked the Hawaii Supreme Court to overturn a ruling denying her request to sever parental rights to a child born to her ex-wife...
13 February 2017 - by Dr Alice Margaria 
It is not the first time that a court has been called to rule on the recognition of family ties established between a male couple and their twins born from surrogacy abroad. But the recent ruling of the Court of Appeal of Milan has attracted particular interest because of its absurd consequences...
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