The Monde.fr | 07/01/2015
By Florence Moreau (Bordeaux, correspondence)
„They were fully aware of committing a wrongdoing. They deliberately bypassed the French legislation. „Difficult to say at this time what the scope of the judgment of Wednesday, July 1 by the criminal court of Bordeaux, will be. Two men, a couple for many years and recently married, were convicted of „provocation by gift, promise, threat or abuse of authority in child abandonment of born or unborn.“ They were each sentenced to a fine of 7,500 euros, suspended.
Penalization of actually hiding a pregnancy file to others, to date still prohibited in France. The case discussed at the hearing on 3 June denoted by its context, while recent national and European decisions point to allow enrollment in French civil status of children born by surrogacy abroad – the Court of Cassation must rule on Friday, July 3, on this.
This time the girl of 8 months is indeed born in France. An exceptional case. The couple, who wanted to start a family, found a company in Cyprus, which proposed to use a surrogate. A paid agreement was reached between the intended parents, the matchmaker agency and a Bulgarian living in Cyprus. The young woman was even welcomed in the Gironde [France] with her son and her companion during the last two months of her pregnancy and has given birth in the Gironde.
The couple did not deny having used a surrogate mother and admit to knowingly omitted the name of that on the birth certificate, which alerted the justice. But they challenge the given criminal offense. „This notion of incitement to child abandonment, it is not our history, this is not what we want to convey to our daughter. We do not recognize us in this word, „said the father had entrusted. „We have not asked a woman to give up her child. “
The criminal court of Bordeaux, who reviewed the contract, said the opposite. Faced with semantic and legal difficulties posed by a contract in Cyprus, the Bordeaux judges expressed territorial jurisdiction, since parents reside in Gironde and the child was born in the same department. They also asked their judgment that „the Bulgarian must be legally considered the child’s mother since she has given birth.“
No other goal than „the desire of a child“
This status, one of the elements of the offense, had been challenged by Mr. David Dumontet: „she is not the biological mother of the little one that was designed by a donor egg and sperm, and she has never intended to keep it. “
The profit of this abandonment is equally clear for judges since the surrogate mother „did not hide that it is in order to offer a better life to her child that she accepted. Shee has had to promise then remittance „noted the judges.
Because it was a joint project and claimed as such, the two fathers were similarly condemned. However, to avoid penalizing their resources or their career, the court requested that the sentence be suspended shall not be included in their criminal record. „There is no doubt that they were not motivated by a purpose other than the desire for a child to raise in their relationship,“ argue the judges. „This is a sentence of principle which is not provided jurisprudence,“ concludes Mr. David Dumontet, the lawyer of the two fathers, who avoided the media at the time of delivery of their conviction.
For now, even though the prosecutor of Bordeaux sought annulment of the recognition of paternity fraud, a civil procedure which could be decided in a few months, the two fathers have not been deprived of custody .
Florence Moreau (Bordeaux, correspondence)
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