Page URL:

French same-sex couples allowed to adopt children conceived via IVF

29 September 2014
Appeared in BioNews 773

France's top civil court, the Court of Cassation, has ruled that children conceived via assisted reproduction overseas can be adopted by same-sex parents.

Following a law change in 2013, homosexual couples in France are allowed to adopt but remain barred from using IVF. A few French courts had thus refused adoption rights to couples who had gone overseas for fertility treatment in order to conceive, saying that such couples were 'defrauding the law' by their actions.

In their decision, senior judges rejected that argument, saying that 'although there may be added conditions, in France this medical practice [IVF] is allowed. Therefore, the fact that some women went abroad for it does not damage any principle of French law'.

Caroline Mécary, the lawyer for a couple whose adoption process had been put on hold subject to this decision, told the Libération newspaper: 'This is an excellent decision. But it is really just a reminder that how a child is conceived is irrelevant in adoption, as long as that the adoption process itself is undertaken in accordance with the law'.

Although the ruling is advisory and not enforceable, the Court of Cassation's decisions are normally heeded by lower courts.

The judgment has been criticised by politicians and commentators opposed to the 2013 'Taubira law' - named after the Minister of Justice who saw it through - which legalised same-sex marriage and adoption. Many see it as a stepping stone to the legalisation of surrogacy, which is currently outlawed in France and strongly opposed by a large, socially conservative section of the population.

Hervé Meriton, an MP for the centre-right opposition party UMP, told Le Figaro: 'We are now locked into a chain of events where gay marriage leads to adoption which leads to assisted conception. The court's decision even gives us a glimpse of the potential legalisation of surrogacy'.

'The only way to extricate ourselves from this spiral is to withdraw the Taubira law', he added.

Since the law was passed, French courts have handled 295 applications from same-sex couples looking to adopt children born after assisted conception overseas and only nine had been turned down.

The ruling comes three months after French courts were forced into granting citizenship to children born via surrogates overseas after a decision at the European Court of Human Rights (see BioNews 761).

10 July 2017 - by Jen Willows 
A same-sex French couple have won a partial victory in their fight to be recognised as the legal parents of their child, who was born via surrogate in the US...
13 June 2016 - by James Brooks 
A Spanish woman has been allowed to have her dead husband's cryopreserved sperm transported from France to Spain despite a French ban on the exportation of gametes for posthumous insemination...
1 February 2016 - by Ana Ilic 
A woman is on trial in France on charges of defrauding two same-sex couples who had hired her as a 'surrogate'...
6 July 2015 - by Kirsty Oswald 
One of France's highest courts ruled on Friday that children born to surrogates abroad have the right to have their births and citizenship recognised by the state...
27 April 2015 - by Kirsty Oswald 
A French appeals court has granted a woman the right to adopt a child her wife conceived overseas via artificial insemination...
7 July 2014 - by James Brooks 
France will no longer deny citizenship to children born via surrogates to French parents overseas, Minister for Families Laurence Rossignol confirmed, after a decision at the European Court of Human Rights...
12 May 2014 - by Jessica Ware 
A French court has ruled that a woman may not adopt a child her partner conceived using fertility treatment abroad. The decision has sparked outrage from equal rights activists...
4 February 2013 - by James Brooks 
The French Justice Minister's instruction to courts to accept citizenship applications for children born via surrogates in other countries has unleashed a political and popular furore...
18 June 2012 - by James Brooks 
A French court has effectively reaffirmed the country's policy of gamete donor anonymity by rejecting a donor-conceived woman's demand for information on her biological father...
to add a Comment.

By posting a comment you agree to abide by the BioNews terms and conditions

Syndicate this story - click here to enquire about using this story.