(CN) – The French Supreme Court upheld a national statute banning surrogacy in ruling that a couple’s children, born from a surrogate mother in Southern California, cannot be considered French citizens.
Sylvie and Dominique Mennesson, both French citizens, hired an American woman to bear their child with a donated egg. The surrogate mother bore twins in La Mesa, Calif. – inland from San Diego – in 2000.
The French Supreme Court in 1991 ruled against surrogacy, and the country adopted a law to codify the ban in 1994. California case law, on the other hand, is generally surrogate-friendly, recognizing the commissioning woman as the mother of the child fertilized in vitro.
In 2003, a French prosecutor sought to cancel inscription of the children, who are U.S. citizens, into the French civil registry. The French couple argued before the courts that this violates international law and is not in the best interest of the children.
The French Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected these arguments in upholding France’s ban on surrogacy. The ruling states that cancelling the registry does not violate human rights treaties or prevent the children from living with the couple in France.
The situation in France could change. A poll by Ipsos France indicated that the majority of French people support surrogacy, and expected legislation may relax the ban.
According to the AP, the Mennessons plan to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.