A French appeals court has granted a woman the right to adopt a child her wife conceived overseas via artificial insemination.
The decision follows a pronouncement last year by the country's highest civil court that gay couples should be allowed to adopt children conceived in this manner (see BioNews 773).
In April last year, a lower court in Versailles refused permission for the woman to adopt the child, who had been conceived in Belgium through anonymous sperm donation. In the ruling, the judge accused the birth mother of having 'committed fraud' and declared that the child had been 'illegally conceived' because in France, assisted reproduction is only available to heterosexual couples.
However, following the decision by the superior court last year, the Appeal Court in Versailles this week overturned the decision and also granted permission to adopt to three other lesbian couples.
'This closes the legal and media debate on this kind of adoption,' the couple's lawyer, Caroline Mécary, told le Figaro.
'It is the end of a year and a half of anguish and anxiety for my clients. They are relieved and happy to see their daughter is protected and officially has two parents,' she added.
In a separate ruling by a court in Aix-en-Provence on 14 April, another lesbian couple was also granted adoption rights after previously having been denied them.
The cases exemplify the trouble that different courts in France have had in interpreting the 'Taubira law' - France's same-sex marriage legislation - which also gives married gay couples the right to adopt. Since the law was passed two years ago, most applications for adoption by gay couples have passed unimpeded but a few courts have insisted that couples travelling overseas to conceive children via assisted reproduction should not be given the same rights.