Icelandic justice recognized the existence of family life between a couple of women and their child born under the surrogacy method in the United States. However, he denied them the maternal bond as surrogacy in Iceland is not legal.

The baby was born in February 2013 in California, United States, through surrogacy and conception was via in vitro fertilization through anonymous gamete donors.

After the birth, the women were registered as the parents of the child without mentioning who she gave birth to, since the pregnant woman contractually rejected any possible legal parental claim. The applicants obtained the birth certificate along with the child’s US passport to return the three of them together to Iceland.

What the Icelandic Justice argued about surrogacy

Once the documentation was submitted, the Icelandic Registry denied the registration. The argument was that the child was born in the United States, the biological mother of the baby – for Icelandic law is the pregnant woman – is also American, and it could not be proved that the father of the child is an Icelandic citizen.

As a consequence, the child does not have the right to citizenship in that country, being considered a foreign citizen and a minor without parental care in Iceland.

The couple appealed this decision to the Ministry of the Interior. Meanwhile, the Organismo de Niñez intervened and established foster care for the applicants.

The District Court understood that recognizing as mothers or fathers those Icelandic residents who travel abroad in order to carry out this illegal practice would create a legal vacuum within the framework of said prohibition.

Therefore, it considered that Iceland has a legitimate reason to deny the recognition of parental established abroad in these circumstances.

However, he understood that family life had been established between the applicants and the child. The refusal to register said relationship effectively implied an interference with this private family life.

Surrogacy and sighted laws

The case reached the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). This institution once again highlighted the difficulties caused by the lack of international legal harmony regarding the prohibition of surrogacy. It also evidenced the different violations of children’s rights as a result of these contracts.

Cases like this show how essential it is in the face of a surrogacy process, to have professional, suitable and specialized advice capable of providing all the necessary information before making the decision.

Our interdisciplinary team of professionals is prepared to advise our clients. We inform about the legislation of each country, the risks and the best way to carry out the process to make it a wonderful and unique experience.