The current state of surrogacy in France is somewhat contentious because it is one of many nations that ban surrogacy arrangements of any kind outright.
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The reasons are complex, and they may seem a bit odd from an American point of view. Surrogacy's legality, after all, varies from state to state in the United States, so it's no wonder that different countries have different perspectives on the topic.
In the US, surrogacy is legal, safe, and ethical as long as you enter into the contract within a surrogate-friendly state. Unfortunately, you can't say the same thing about France, where surrogacy is never allowed and is actually punishable by imprisonment.
Nevertheless, recent developments have thickened the plot, and nowadays, French citizens can engage in surrogacy arrangements overseas, bring the child back home, and be declared the child’s legal parents.
Not so long ago, that wasn’t the case!
Here’s an update about the current state of surrogacy in France for 2022.
What is the history of surrogacy in France?
During surrogacy’s early years, most arrangements were altruistic and uncompensated. To this very day, in fact, the same still applies in some US states where compensated surrogacy is still against the law.
But in France, there were no laws explicitly banning surrogacy until the Bioethics Act of 1994. In that legislation, surrogacy was deemed inappropriate because, in the eyes of the French, it violates the dignity of the unborn child. The United States takes a very different path on the subject and places a high value on the power of parents to raise healthy, productive, and law-abiding people.
The Bioethics Act of 1994 effectively squashed surrogacy anywhere in France. However, there have been some exciting developments as French courts have had to address the citizenship and parentage of children born from international surrogate arrangements.
Some children literally had to wait to grow up into adults for the law to recognize their rights too. Today, French citizens can be named the legal parents of children born via international surrogates without violating the law.
Is it legal to conceive via surrogacy in France in 2022?
The short answer is no.
No, it isn't legal to conceive a child via surrogacy anywhere in France.
As such, French couples have had to look for alternatives in other parts of the world like the US, or at the very least, a surrogate-friendly country that will allow it in some capacity. French law may have banned surrogacy, but it did not eliminate its need!
That's when French citizens began to turn to US states like California, where the law granted them parentage readily with no need to go through additional legal proceedings.
You'd have a hard time finding a surrogate in France unless you already knew them, for example, via sibling commitment to altruistic surrogacy. Since they cannot engage in surrogacy practices while physically in France, international surrogacy is the only option!
French children born of international surrogacy wouldn't have the same rights as French citizens, and to this day, it's still a murky area of the law. French citizens may be named the legal parents, but the child would, in many cases, retain the citizenship status of where they were born.
In other words, children born from surrogates in the US stay US citizens–even when they move to France!
How do surrogacy regulations affect gay and lesbian couples in France?
Another recent development in French surrogacy is protections for same-sex couples! They can now be named the legal parents of a child born through surrogacy arrangements overseas.
That wasn’t always the case, but as with the question of a child’s citizenship, the issue has had to work its way through the court system.
There’s way more clarity today than there was five years ago; however, a lot of grey areas still exist.
The good news is that same-sex couples can become parents in France via international surrogacy.
What can French couples do if they cannot conceive but want to start a family?
You’d assume that adoption is the simplest way to start a family in France if you can’t conceive, but that’s not necessarily the case. If you’re in a same-sex relationship, the legality of adoption is questionable despite hopeful rulings by French courts.
Another exciting development is that the French government recently opened up infertility treatments to lesbian and single women, so in vitro fertilization is an option as long as the mother carries the baby herself using the father's sperm.
Having said that, many French couples and individuals have come to the US to begin the surrogacy journey, and the results speak for themselves.
There are happy, healthy, and loving French families that wouldn’t exist without the miracle of surrogacy.
Ultimately, the situation in France isn't conducive to compensated surrogacy or surrogacies of the altruistic variety.
Hence, couples and individuals from France still need to go outside of the country to start families of their own with a surrogate's assistance.
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Every team member at SurrogateFirst is either a former intended parent or an experienced surrogate herself. We also have first-hand knowledge of what it takes to have an incredible, successful surrogate journey.
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