France: Judges reject lesbian couple’s artificial insemination human rights challenge

A lesbian couple, denied medical assistance to have a child through artificial insemination, has had its human rights complaint against France dismissed by Strasbourg judges.

In its decision in the case of Charron and Merle-Montet v. France (application no. 22612/15) the European Court of Human Rights has unanimously declared the application inadmissible.

The decision is final.

The married couple’s application for medically assisted reproduction by means of artificial insemination was  rejected by Toulouse Hospital on the grounds that “the Bioethics Law currently in force in France did not authorise such medical provision for same-sex couples”.

Ms Charron and Ms Merle-Montet complained about the rejection of their application, relying on Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life) and Article 14 (prohibition of discrimination).

Noting the importance of the subsidiarity principle, the European court considered that because Charron  and Merle-Montet had not appealed to the administrative courts to set aside Toulouse Hospital’s decision for abuse of authority, they had failed to exhaust domestic remedies.


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