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Parental rights

Court reinforces stance on biological parenthood

Switzerland’s Federal Court has ruled that a couple living in canton Aargau may not be officially recognised as the parents of their twins, who were born via surrogate in 2012.

The couple presented a California birth certificate to the civil register that named them as the twins’ mother and father, but both the Aargau authorities and the Federal Court refused to accept their registration as parents.

The court’s reasoning was that neither parent had a biological link to the twins, who were conceived when an embryo created using the egg and sperm of anonymous donors was implanted into a surrogate in the United States. The decision was supported by the fact that the couple had also been living uninterrupted in Switzerland, and had no official link to the US.

Under the Federal Constitution, all forms of surrogacy are illegal in Switzerland. The ban aims to prevent children from being treated like commodities, and to protect the surrogate mothers.

In May this year, the Federal Court annulled a decision by a court in St Gallen that said two gay fathers could both be registered as the parents of a child, who had also been born via an American surrogate. The Federal Court reversed that decision, ruling that only the father whose sperm had been used to conceive the child could be officially recognised as a parent.

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