MAP – Surrogacy: Investigation into the French site, Co-parents.fr

Publié le : 14 March 2014

 The French daily newspaper, Le Figaro, has published a survey on the French internet site, Co-parents.fr, which puts "future homosexual or heterosexual parents in touch with sperm donors or surrogate mothers". This option gives the Human Rights’ Defender cause for concern since he has just written to the Justice Minister, Christiane Taubira, pointing out "the practices of this interactive commercial service which puts people in touch with gamete donors or surrogate mothers". With 100,000 members, Co-parents.fr is not the only internet site to brush shoulders with illegal issues. In other countries such as England, Germany, Spain, Italy and even Belgium, sites with a similar function have also caught the attention of the Human Rights’ Defender.     

According to the daily newspaper, the internet has four headings: "co-parenting, sperm donations and donors, homo-parenting and surrogate mothers".

In France, sperm donation is a regulated practice: The collection and processing of sperm with a view to donation are carried out only by practitioners who are approved by the Biomedicines Agency.  Donors must provide sperm free of charge, willingly and anonymously. This legislation is ignored by site users: "Co-parents suggest that two adults can come together to create children who will belong to one or the other. Such practices violate a person’s character and sense of belonging" emphasises Jean-René Binet, Professor of Private Law. As far as the French National Medical Association (CNOM) is concerned, these "offers of ‘wild’ donation[…] constitute a health problem". Dr. André Faroudja, Director of the Ethical and Deontology Section of the CNOM pointed out that unprofessional artificial insemination posed numerous risks, which are largely unknown to site users since they even go so far as to "exchange insemination methods". 
Furthermore, site users who are interested in surrogacy must pay a subscription fee: 25 Euros a month to discuss and exchange details. "A price to pay, which shows that the site has none of the attributes of a disinterested ‘pimp’ "This begs the question "whether the Co-parents.fr site" could be accused of committing a criminal offence, which carries a two-year prison sentence and 30,000 € fine.

In response to announcements published on co-parents.fr, the Director of the Biomedicines Agency (ABM) has the following to say, "We don’t really know what is behind these announcements. If it’s a dating site, that has nothing to do with us – we don’t keep watch on people’s morals". In terms of medically assisted procreation, however, it wonders what line to follow because "quality management is essential for physical and mental health". 

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