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France: Denial of Adoption for Same-Sex Parents of Child Conceived Through Medically Assisted Reproduction

(May 23, 2014) A court in Versailles has denied a same-sex couple the adoption of a child conceived through medically assisted reproduction (M.A.R.). [Gaëlle Dupont, Premier refus d’adoption à un couple de femmes ayant conçu un enfant par PMA [First Refusal for the Adoption of a Child Conceived through M.A.R. by Two Women], LE MONDE (May 2, 2014),

In May 2013, the French Code civil (Civil Code) was changed to allow the marriage of same-sex couples. (Code civil [Civil Code], art. 143 (May 17, 2013), LEGIFRANCE.) As French law already permitted the adoption of one spouse’s child by the other spouse (id. art. 345), certain courts found that children conceived by same-sex couples through M.A.R. could be legally adopted by the biological parent’s spouse. (Marie-Laure Combes & Eve Roger, L’Adoption pour tous, c’est pas maintenant [Adoption Equality Is Not for Now), EUROPE 1 (May 2, 2014).)

The Tribunal de Grande Instance (District Court) of Versailles ruled otherwise, however, in the case of a woman who wished to adopt a child born to her spouse after an artificial insemination procedure in Belgium. (Id.) The Versailles court based its decision on the reasoning that French law only authorizes M.A.R. procedures for infertile couples and prohibits them in cases such as the one at hand. In the court’s view, therefore, the fact that the couple traveled to Belgium to undergo an M.A.R. procedure constituted an effort to bypass French law, which could not be sanctioned by the approval of the adoption by the mother’s spouse. (Id.) The couple in question has appealed the decision. (Marie-Laure Combes & Eve Roger, supra.)