Suzi Denton
Associate Solicitor
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Date Published:14 May 2019 Last Updated:22 Jul 2021

International surrogacy: Italian court refuses to name non-biological father as children’s legal parent

Fertility Law

The highest court in Italy has said that the non-biological father of two children who were born through surrogacy in Canada cannot be named as their legal father. The same-sex couple have two children together, and in 2017 a lower court ruled that they were both the legal parents. Both fathers are named on the children’s Canadian birth certificates.

The court said this decision was made to ‘protect the dignity of pregnant women and the institution of adoption.’

To secure his parentage, the non-biological father will instead have to apply for permission to adopt the children. It is not yet known whether the fathers will appeal the decision at the European Court of Human Rights.

Surrogacy is illegal in Italy, which means that if parents want to pursue surrogacy, they must go abroad. However, as is the case for this couple, complications arise on the return home when it comes to legal recognition of the non-biological parent.

If you are planning an international surrogacy journey or would like any advice on anything to do with fertility law, please contact our Fertility team who will be able to assist. Call us on 01202 525333 or send us an email enquiry to