Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Two California surrogacy stories from Europe, and a (pretty sad) one from Italy via Russia

Here's a late breaking story about an Italian couple that enlisted a surrogate in Russia, had the child taken from them by Italian authorities, and has just lost their appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.

ECHR rules in surrogate case--Court overrules its previous verdict
 "(ANSA) - Strasbourg, January 24 - The European Court of Human Rights said in a ruling Tuesday that Italy had not breached the rights of a couple after taking away a child born to a surrogate mother in Russia with whom they had no biological ties. The child was taken away from the couple after they returned from Russia following DNA testing showed that neither the man or the woman were its biological parent, even though a Russian birth certificate put them as parents.
    Tuesday's ruling overrides a previous decision made by the Strasbourg court in January 2015. "The Court considered that the contested measures had pursued the legitimate aims of preventing disorder and protecting the rights and freedoms of others," the ECHR said. "On this last point, it regarded as legitimate the Italian authorities' wish to reaffirm the State's exclusive competence to recognise a legal parent-child relationship - and this solely in the case of a biological tie or lawful adoption - with a view to protecting children".
    The child has been adopted by another family."

Surrogate motherhood: stopped by the European Court for Human Rights. The Chambre supports the Italian Court
"(Strasbourg) “The Court rules that the relationship between the applicants and the child is not part of family life”: this has been ruled by the Grande Chambre of the European Court of Human Rights, issued today about “Paradiso-Campanelli versus Italy”. The case is about an Italian couple living in the province of Campobasso, who went to Russia in 2011: through a private organisation, the married couple had had a child from a “surrogate mother” who has no biological relationship with the couple. Under Russian law, the couple could record the child as their own child, but, once back in Italy, the Court refused to record the child as the couple’s child and, after finding there was no biological relationship, it ruled that the child should be taken away from the applicants (the child was about eight months old back then) and then adopted by a different family. Today’s ruling overturns a ruling issued by the Court in January 2015: it claimed that taking the child away from the first couple breached article no. 8 of the Convention on Human Rights (right to private and family life), regardless of the child’s interest. The new ruling states, instead, that the Italian Court had actually ruled in the child’s interest and also stopped surrogate motherhood."

HT: Dorothea Kuebler
Here are two earlier stories, set in England and Italy, from the blog Above the Law. about surrogacy as a repugnant transaction (at home) and the resulting fertility tourism (to California):

1."British aristocrats, the Viscountess and Viscount Weymouth... welcomed their second son on December 30, 2016. In what is likely a first for the British aristocracy, the child was born via surrogate.
The baby boy is the second grandson of the 7th Marquess of Bath. I’ll just assume this is kind of a big deal in England. Lady Weymouth suffers from medical complications that made a second pregnancy too dangerous. So the couple turned to a California surrogate. To their credit, they are reportedly* sharing their story to help remove some of the stigma associated with surrogacy. Welcome and all hail the Right Honourable Henry Thynn. No typo. Honorable is spelled that way on purpose."
*They explain the differences between surrogacy in California and Britain as follows:
"Ceawlin explains that the US state has the most advanced legal system for the procedure. 
For example, it allows money to be exchanged, while Britain insists no more than expenses can be paid to the woman who will carry the child.
‘Obviously, we would have preferred to do it closer to home, but the legal system in Britain has not evolved with medical technology, so any contract with a surrogate is not binding,’ he says. 
‘Even if the baby is 100 per cent yours (ie the sperm and egg) the surrogate still has the right to keep the baby. California has the most evolved legal system in the world [for surrogacy].’ 
2. "Italy Is Not A Great Place To Be Gay. The parents of the twins are a gay Italian couple. While the U.S. made the move to permit gay marriage in 2015, Italy still denies same-sex couples the right to marry. Italy also denies gay couples the right to adopt children. Italian same-sex couples can’t even adopt their own family members through kinship adoptions. And, unsurprisingly, there is no same-sex step-parent adoption since gays can’t marry in the first place.
Having limited family-building options, the couple turned to an egg donor and California surrogate to conceive their children, and complete the family they dreamed of. Two embryos were transferred to the same surrogate. One was a donor egg fertilized with sperm from dad 1; the second was a donor egg, but this time fertilized with sperm from dad 2. The twins are biologically half-siblings with the same birthday. The conditions for an Arnold Schwarzenegger/Danny DeVito situation probably couldn’t have been set any higher.
This Is What Partial A Victory Looks Like. The fathers returned from the United States to Italy with their twins in tow. But the Italian government initially refused to recognize the children as (1) sons of the fathers, and 2) eligible for Italian citizenship. The fathers’ appealed, and were able to obtain what many consider a victory.
The court determined that despite the children being born to a gay couple (strike 1), using donor eggs (strike 2 – donating eggs and/or sperm is illegal in Italy) and to a surrogate (strike 3 – surrogacy is also illegal in Italy), it would be in the children’s best interest for Italy to recognize the parent-child relationship. The court awarded parental rights of each individual twin to the genetically related father."  
(NB: the two twins aren't legally related in Italy...)
"It Could Have Been Much Worse. While this was not a complete victory, it was a step forward for Italy. In prior cases, an Italian court has denied parentage to both parents — or even taken away a surrogate-born child from the parents and made the child a ward of the state! In an infamous case from 2014, an infertile couple in their 50s — who had been turned down for adoption three times — turned to surrogacy. They paid a Ukrainian surrogate €25,000 to carry a child conceived with donated genetic material. When they brought the child back to Italy, the government refused to register the child as theirs and charged them with fraud. Sadly, the court went further, ruling that the child, whose genetic and surrogate parents were unknown, was a “child of no one.” Despite even an Italian prosecutor advising that the child be allowed to stay with the intended parents, the court ruled that the child must become a ward of the state and put up for adoption. Heartbreaking.
Europe’s Anti-Surrogate Tendencies. Italy is not an anomaly. Most of Western Europe (including France, Spain, and Germany, among others) bans surrogacy. This has led to a number of troubling cases when Europeans go elsewhere for surrogacy and then try to bring their children home. In France, for instance, several surrogacy cases have involved French courts denying parental rights. But couples have had success appealing to the European Court of Human Rights. There, a child’s right to his or her parents has prevailed over French domestic law."

No comments: