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France: Sperm donor granted visiting rights to the child of a same-sex couple

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A judge in France has granted visiting rights to the biological father of a lesbian couple’s child, despite claims that they did not expect him to seek any rights as an acting sperm donor.

The biological father, who was a friend to the couple, acted as an informal sperm donor for them two years ago.

However, he has recently successfully claimed visiting rights to the child just seven months after its birth.

The reason for this decision was “because he wanted to be a father”, said his lawyer.

Speaking to a family affairs judge, the child’s biological mother said that her family included her female partner and herself and that they had not expected this man to claim any rights on the child.

On Monday, the judge granted the father visiting rights, with the possibility of an eventual shared custody. The two women do not intend to appeal the decision, according to the mother’s lawyer.

The lawyer stated: “This man did my client and her partner a favour, then he changed his mind and requested his place as a father. So be it – he is doing it in a legal framework”.

He added: “This raises the question of what a family is, and how homosexual families have to be prepared to organise parenting between the different partners”.

The lawyer also pointed that the mother’s partner could adopt the child, acquiring rights as a step-parent, but the father would need to give his approval for the adoption first.

She said that this would not have been the case if the couple had turned to medically assisted reproduction, since sperm donors remain anonymous.

In January, a YouGov poll revealed that although there was a strong European majority in favour of same-sex adoption, France remained divided on the issue.

January was also the month where France saw the first ever child born to a same-sex couple.

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