New Order Offers French Nationality to Children Born to Foreign Surrogates

Just a few weeks ago we posted a story about the French legislature’s initial moves to legalize gay marriage, a measure which could become law as soon as May or June. Another development in France was the issuance of an order from the French Justice Minister Christiane Taubira that could have enormous impact on French families created via assisted reproductive technology. The order relates requires the granting of certificates of French nationality to children born abroad to French parents through a surrogate.

One reason Minister Taubira’s order is so important is because surrogacy is illegal in France. As a consequence, many intended parents engage surrogates in other countries to help them create their families. Often the new parents encounter legal obstacles to bringing their children home to France.

The Wall Street Journal recently highlighted the story of Thomas Clochon and Nicolas Beslin, of Paris, France, who through an agency were matched with a surrogate in Madison, Wisconsin, USA. The gay couple, who have been together nine years, had tried for some time to adopt a child but found that the law in most countries would not allow adoptions by gay parents. Now parents of twin boys, they have returned to Paris, where their sons are designated American citizens living in France.

Fatherhood is better than either of them had imagined, the men said. "It's definitely what we expected, with more joy," Clochon said.

Recently, India passed a law prohibiting gay couples, unmarried heterosexual couples, and singles from entering into surrogate relationships with Indian women. Ostensibly the Indian government passed this law to protect the children. Unfortunately, there is a huge risk associated with this new law that many children will become stateless.

Some surrogate children, when born, will not be entitled to Indian citizenship, and may not be entitled to citizenship of the countries where the commissioning parents live. They may therefore be prevented from travelling abroad and find themselves stranded in India with a surrogate mother who may have no ability or resources (or even desire) to care for them.

If Minister Taubira’s order is successfully implemented, French parents whose children are born to surrogates abroad would not have to worry about the legal status of their children. The legal status of both parents, however, is a different story. For example, in the case of Clochon and Breslin and their twins, one of the men is the biological father of the two children, but, at least for now, France does not recognize the non-biologic father as a legal parent of the children.

Assuming the French Senate passes the gay marriage bill, legalizing gay marriage in France, the way would be clear for the non-biologic father to adopt the two children. And, assuming the Taubira order is implemented, then the new fathers should be able to obtain French citizenship for their children.

While the French government is moving in the right direction to provide legal security for children of same-sex couples and families created via ART, French public support continues to lag behind. When the French assembly passed the gay marriage bill recently, research indicated the majority of French people still had strong opposition to “assisted births.” In fact, French legislators assured constituents that the gay marriage bill would not do anything to weaken France’s ban on surrogacy, in effect since 1991.

Professor of law, Daniel Fasquelle, sees in the text “a form of legalization, sugarcoated, for surrogacy. Some couples are going to go abroad to find surrogacy contracts, and find safe harbor for arrangements that are illegal in France,” he explains. “We are opening the door to still other tricks. … These are not only children’s rights being violated, but also those of the human being. For surrogacy is a form of human trafficking.”

Obviously, despite the progressive bent of the current French government, social conservatives continue to have a strong voice in France, just as they still do in the United States. There, as here, the best strategy for opening minds and changing the negative perception of surrogacy is to continue to put human faces on families like Beslin and Clochon’s.

Rich Vaughn
Richard Vaughn

Attorney Rich Vaughn is founder and principal of International Fertility Law Group, one of the world’s largest and best-known law firms focused exclusively on assisted reproductive technology, or ART, including in vitro fertilization (IVF), surrogacy, sperm donation or egg donation. Rich is co-author of the book “Developing A Successful Assisted Reproduction Technology Law Practice,” American Bar Association Publishing, 2017.

Peiya Wang
Paralegal (律师助理)

Peiya Wang joined IFLG as a paralegal in 2015, where she manages surrogacy, egg donation and parental establishment cases and provides translation services for many of IFLG’s international clients. Peiya received her bachelor’s degree from Beijing Technologies and Business University, where she majored in Marketing. She moved to the United States in 2012 to attend Northeast University in Boston, Massachusetts, receiving a Master of Science degree in Global Studies and International Affairs in 2014. Peiya moved to Los Angeles in 2015 and received her paralegal certification from UCLA Extension. When away from the office, Peiya is a dragon boat paddler and a ballroom dancer, where she favors Rumbas and Cha-chas. She is fluent in Mandarin and English.

Luis Sosa

Luis R. Sosa joined IFLG as a paralegal in 2016, where he enjoys pursuing his passion for family and reproductive law. While working toward his bachelor’s degree at Florida International University, Luis worked as a paralegal and legal assistant for family law litigation firms in Miami and Washington, D.C. As a paralegal and case manager for IFLG, Luis, who is bilingual in English and Spanish, manages surrogacy, egg donation and other reproductive law cases. In addition to spending time with husband Randy and dog Marty, Luis enjoys being outdoors and appreciating the arts.

Toni Hughes

After receiving her B.S. in Business Management, Toni joined IFLG to pursue her dream of working in the legal field. As a Paralegal with over 10 years of experience in the assisted reproduction technology field, Toni is our Managing Paralegal, responsible for training and managing our paralegal staff. From drafting legal documents to assisting our clients with post-birth matters, Toni embraces the challenge of learning something new in this field each day. Besides spending time with her son, Jordan, Toni enjoys exploring new things, cooking, spending time with family and friends, and serving as a Youth Advisor for “Next Generation.”

Miesha Cowart
Financial Coordinator

Miesha Cowart joined IFLG as a financial specialist in 2014 following a successful career in development and business finance. Miesha previously worked for 10 years in the construction industry as a controller and for 13 years as Development Coordinator for the non-profit U.S. Fund for UNICEF. In her free time, Miesha works with “Next Generation” at her church. “They are my heartbeats!” she says of the youth in her community.


Kim has over 25 years of experience in the legal field and has worked exclusively in surrogacy and assisted reproduction law since 1999. Kim is a senior case manager of surrogacy and egg donation cases, and is also responsible for managing parental establishment cases and interacting with IFLG’s Of Counsel attorneys across the country. With three children of her own, Kim understands the importance of family and finds working in this area of law a rewarding experience.

Rich Vaughn

Attorney Rich Vaughn combined his personal passion as a father of twin boys born via assisted reproductive technology (ART) with more than 20 years of experience in business and technology law to build International Fertility Law Group. Today IFLG is one of the most successful and best-known law firms in the world focused exclusively on fertility law, helping thousands of intended parents through empathetic listening, compassionate guidance, and unmatched legal expertise. As an advocate for reproductive freedom, Rich also contributes his knowledge and time to improving the understanding and practice of ART law, most recently as a founder of and speaker at the first Cambridge University International Surrogacy Symposium held in June 2019, as immediate past chair of the American Bar Association ART Committee, and as a popular presenter to law schools, faculty and advocacy organizations all over the world.

Elizabeth Tamayo

Elizabeth received her Bachelors of Science degree in Criminal Justice from California State University of Los Angeles. Shortly after graduating, she continued her education at the University of California, Los Angeles where she obtained her Paralegal certificate. Elizabeth is fluent in Spanish and has been in the legal field since 2009. She is excited to be a part of the IFLG Team helping families realize their dreams.

Sunny Chien

Sunny joined IFLG as a paralegal in 2017, where she manages surrogacy, egg donation and parental establishment cases for many of IFLG’s international clients. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy from California State University of Los Angeles, where she graduated cum laude. Sunny is bilingual in English and Mandarin and has extensive experience as a legal assistant and paralegal at Los Angeles-area law firms. She is excited to be part of the IFLG team. In her spare time, Sunny enjoys spending time with her family and their dog, going to the beach, cooking, and being outdoors.

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Molly O'Brien

Fertility law attorney Molly O’Brien began working in the field of assisted reproduction technology (ART) in 2005, at an egg donation agency and a surrogacy agency where she became familiar with all aspects of in-vitro fertilization, egg donation and the financial aspects of surrogacy. Since becoming an attorney in 2011, Molly has drafted and negotiated surrogacy, egg donation, sperm donation embryo donation agreements for hundreds of her clients all over the world.