International surrogacy before the European Court of Human Rights

07 Aug 2017

Over the past 15 years, international surrogacy has grown from a niche practice catering only to a few adventurous couples, to a convenient response to infertility for those who would otherwise be hindered by restrictive national regimes. While the Hague Conference on Private International Law continues to debate the desirability, and indeed viability, of an international convention in this area, governments and courts around the world have been confronted by the difficult question of whether to recognize an agreement that takes place legally in another jurisdiction, but which is contrary to their own laws. This paper will consider developments across Europe in regulating foreign surrogacy arrangements, in particular focusing on the recent decisions of the European Court of Human Rights of D v Belgium, Mennesson v France and Paradiso and Campanelli v Italy, and their potential impact on national approaches. The paper will argue that in light of these decisions, the ability of domestic authorities to regulate international surrogacy is substantially undermined.