European Court of Human Rights : a key decision on surrogate motherhood

The Grand Chamber Judgment clarifies that there is no obligation to recognise parental ties if there is no biological link. The European Court reaffirms the State’s exclusive competence to recognise a legal parent-child relationship and the State’s prerogatives in safeguarding its public order

The Judgment of the Grand Chamber in the case of Paradiso and Campanelli v. Italy clarifies that the Italian authorities’ withdrawal of the custody of a child born from surrogacy, who had no biological link with the intended parents, was legitimate.

The Court also positively confirms that on ethically sensitive issues, Member States enjoy a wide margin of appreciation. Furthermore, the Court concluded that the case at issue did not qualify as « family life ».

COMECE welcomes this decision and recalls its opposition to the instrumentalisation of gestational mothers as well as the key importance of protecting children against illicit practices, some of which may amount to human trafficking, as also acknowledged in the judgment.

The COMECE Reflection Group on Bioethics published an Opinion on Gestational Surrogacy which highlights once again the need to protect the most vulnerable against harmful practices.

Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community- COMECE


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