Italy: Judges to rule on surrogate baby parents’ rights row

Judges will deliver a ruling tomorrow on a surrogate child parental rights dispute, which pits an Italian husband and wife against national authorities.

The European Court of Human Rights’ decision in the complaint Paradiso and Campanelli v. Italy (no. 25358/12), expected on Tuesday 27 January, was brought by Donatina Paradiso and Giovanni Campanelli.

The case concerns the removal from the couple of a baby who had been born in Russia to a surrogate mother and who was subsequently found to have no biological relationship to the would-be parents.

After unsuccessfully attempting to use in vitro fertilisation, Paradiso and Campanelli opted for a surrogacy arrangement to become parents. For that purpose they entered into an agreement with
the company Rosjurconsulting in Russia.

A surrogate mother was found and given in vitro fertilisation and a baby was born on 27 February 2011 in Moscow. In accordance with Russian law, Paradiso and Campanelli were registered as the baby’s parents.

In April 2011, the Italian Consulate in Moscow delivered documents allowing the child to leave for Italy. A few days after their arrival in Italy, Campanelli unsuccessfully asked the municipal authority of Colletorto to register the birth. As a DNA test had revealed that Campanelli was not the child’s biological father, the minors court decided on 20 October 2011 that the child should be removed immediately from the applicants on the ground that there was no biological relationship between them. The baby was placed in a children’s home, without Paradiso and Campanelli being informed of its location or allowed any contact, then in January 2013 the baby was entrusted to foster parents.

In April 2013, the refusal to register the Russian birth certificate was confirmed and the issuance of a new birth certificate ordered, giving a new name and indicating that the child was born in Moscow on 27 February 2011 to unknown parents.

On 5 June 2013 the minors court declared that the parents no longer had the capacity to act in an adoption procedure initiated by them, given that they were not the parents or relatives of the child.

The applicants allege in particular that the refusal to acknowledge the parent-child relationship established abroad by registering the child’s birth certificate in Italy, and the child’s removal from them, were incompatible with Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life).

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