March 16, 2017 Practice Points

Italian Court Rules Gay Couple Should Be Legally Recognized as Fathers of Surrogate Twins

By Mor Wetzler

In late February, an Italian court ruled that a gay couple should be legally recognized as the fathers of surrogate twins. The Court of Appeal in Trento held that both men can be officially named as the father, not only the parent who is biologically related to the children. This is a complex and developing area of law in Italy. Italian law currently prevents couples from using a surrogate mother, and in theory, anyone caught entering into a surrogacy arrangement faces up to two years in prison and a fine of up to a million euros. Two years ago, a child was removed from parents who had paid a surrogate mother in Ukraine. The couple were charged with fraud and the child put up for adoption. In 2016, during debate over Italy's same-sex unions bill, the current foreign minister, Angelino Alfano, sparked outrage when he said that surrogacy should be treated as a “sex crime.”  The Italian parliament approved same-sex civil unions in May 2016.

Mor Wetzler is an associate at Paul Hastings in New York, New York.

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