Recently, the European Court of Human Rights issued a judgment in Paradiso and Campanelli v. Italy, which reveals a lot about the shady world of surrogacy. The court ruled that Italy was able to deny registering a child to an Italian couple because the child was born by a surrogate mother in Russia and had no biological genetic link to the couple.
Although the ECHR found a violation of the right to private and family life, the court ultimately did not believe that Italy’s refusal to transcribe the birth certificate violated Article 8. The court reasoned that interpreting national legislation is primarily the job of national courts. This must have come as a blow to the Russian agency which was paid €49,000 for the child and to ‘compensate’ the unnamed female surrogate.
But what isn’t immediately evident in reviewing this case, is that the lawyers representing the couple are the same lawyers that made the surrogacy arrangements in Russia on the couple’s behalf. Trading under the relatively innocuous name “Rosjur Consulting,” the surrogacy group describes themselves as specialized in the “legal support of surrogate motherhood and comprehensive, customized surrogacy programmes.” They also boast that their specialists can “help you find a surrogate mother [and] provide legal support… up to the receipt of a birth certificate.” So it makes sense that they would be the lawyers behind this case seeking a birth certificate that doesn’t represent the biological reality – this is their business. And therein lies the problem.