A six-year-old British girl born to a surrogate mother using an unidentified egg and sperm from her biological father has lost her case to the European Court of Human Rights to name her father on her birth certificate.
In a complex case involving five people in her birth – a same-sex couple, one of whom was her biological father, a surrogate mother and her husband and the anonymous egg donor – the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the case was “manifestly unfounded”.
The court ruled that although the girl’s biological father was not mentioned on her birth certificate, she was not completely deprived of any legal relationship with her biological father.
The girl, known as H, argued with her friend in litigation, the same-sex partner of her biological father, that UK laws violated her right to have her private life respected under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
The girl lives with her biological father, known as A, and his same-sex partner, known as B, and is in regular contact with the surrogate, known as C, and her husband, known as D.
Currently, her birth certificate states that the surrogate mother who bore her a fetus, and the surrogate mother’s husband, are her “mother” and “mother” according to the rules set out in the UK Human Fertilization and Embryology Act.
The girl’s case argued that the parts of the UK surrogacy laws relating to automatic registration of a surrogate mother’s husband as her “father” on her birth certificate were outdated and violated her right to her identity, specifically her right to an accurate birth. certificate.
The Human Fertilization and Embryology Act states that no one else shall be treated as the father of the child. However, it is possible to apply for a parental order. Once this is done, the birth will be re-registered to register the intended parent(s) as the legal parent(s). The certificate is similar to a long birth certificate.
This parental order can only be issued with the unconditional consent of the woman who bore the child and the man who is the biological father.
In the case of Girl H, the surrogate mother and her husband did not agree to a parental order so the biological father could not be recognized as the legitimate father of the girl. The girl was born in 2016 and lives in London.
In 2015, A and B entered into a surrogacy arrangement with C and D, a married couple. C later became pregnant using an egg and sperm donated from A.
Before the birth of the girl there was a breakdown in relations between spouses. As a result, the surrogate mother and her husband did not initially tell the same-sex couple that she was serving as a surrogate for the birth of the girl.
In December 2016, a family court judge ordered that the couple take parental responsibility for the girl.
The Court issued an order for special arrangements for the child declaring that the girl must live with A and B, who must make all day-to-day decisions on her behalf, as well as decisions regarding her education, medical treatment, and “all other parenting decisions”; that her name should be changed to include her nicknames “A” and “B”; and that C and D be in regular contact with her throughout the year. The Court of Appeal subsequently dismissed C and D’s appeals against this decision.
The girl’s case argued that she was denied the social and emotional benefits of legal recognition of her biological father. She said that although A and B have parental responsibility to her, this lacks the quality of long-term certainty that legal paternity is over and, unlike legal paternity, will end when she turns 18.
Shelvan, of Bedford Row’s 33 rooms and chief adviser to the girl, said: “We are clearly disappointed with the H result, who will now have to live with a birth certificate that inaccurately records who her actual father is. Ironically, this decision gives apparent weight and importance to the supremacy of the British Parliament by the Strasbourg Court – a position which is clearly inconsistent with this government’s campaign to advance the Bill of Rights.”