On the Season Premiere of Daddy Squared Around The World we’re checking to see what’s life like for gay dads in France. We spoke with Aurelien and Nicolas, stars of the documentary Ghosts of the République, we look at stigma in surrogacy and try to figure out the options for gay men in France to build their families.

In the first episode, Yan and Alex look at options for gay men in France, with guests Auerlien and Nicolas, starts of the US/French documentary ‘Ghosts of the Republique.’

France is one of many European countries which is considered progressive and supportive of the gay community, in general. But in the category of gay parenting, there are some serious complications.

French law not only bans all surrogacy (for straight and gay people) in the country, but also ‘punishes’ parents who go through surrogacy abroad by refusing to recognize the children as their parents’ legal children.

“The punishment is for the child and that’s why it’s really weird that France has been condemned by the European court many times, I think 12 or 13 times, because the only person who has difficulty because of these policies is the child, who does not have the same rights as any other French child,” Aurelian says in the interview.

“Right now people are still fighting for the rights of these children who are already living in France.”

‘Ghosts of the République’ No More

According to Dominique Boren, co-chair of APGL, the situation has changed dramatically since the documentary.

“Surrogacy is banned in France (even inciting to engage into surrogacy journey) punished by fine and even time in prison,” Boren says. “However, to my knowledge, NO ONE has ever been subject to prosecution and even less faced trial. The main goal being this non implemented law is to refrain promotion in France of surrogacy (which is quite effective with almost no surrogacy agencies holding promotion or marketing event on their services, in France.”

“Since 2015 (due to our family case settled by French supreme court) no kid has been left outside of French system, and to my knowledge, progressively, all hurdles have been left. As for the parents, French legal system does recognize automatically at least one of the parents as ‘real’ parent (mainly the one of the parents who decides to identify himself as declared parent), the dilemma is for the second (same sex) parent. If the parenting rights acquired in the country of birth are deemed to be as per French adoption rules, then the second parent is granted same rights as the ‘real’ parent, through a legal process referred as exequature. Almost a formality.
If not, and this is mostly the case, and will become the rule after law on access to IVF for lesbians and single women will become effective, then the second parent MUST (be married to the other parent) make an application to a family court to be granted status of adoptive parent with all parental rights attached thereto. to date, this legal process is quite simple and lean but takes time and money, and I must is meant to refrain surrogacy or least prevent from being “simple.”

“Kids are not punished as such, it is rather the second parent who is facing discrimination (legal discrimination) as to establish his legitimate and rightful status of ‘true’ parent as the other parent. So imperfect and discriminatory though it is, at the end of day, kids do have their parents with equal rights.”


“Contrary to what is a common practice in the USA, France does not have foster care system and adoption regulations,” Boren says, “and processes are fully in the hands of public administration and a collective board (in each department… more or less a state, in short) composed of representatives of various organizations, and until recently, no LGBT families NGO was present in any of the board, and APLG is to date the only NGO with representatives in few boards. (In practice, civil administrators prepare fills for adoption on behalf of applicants and submit such selected application to each board, who makes the final selection).”

“Since 2014 (same sex couple marriage law) hundreds of gays (mostly) and lesbians have applied to be authorized to fill in an adoption application, nearly all of them succeed in getting such ok, but only very few become adoptive parents (less then 100 …). It is cleary a major issue to be improved.”

French Organizations that Help Gay Dads

Gay Dads in France: Related Articles and News

Our Guests

Nicolas and Aurelien, a gay couple from France, are in the center of the new documentary, Ghosts of the République. Confronted by France’s conservative surrogacy laws, the couple decides to exhaust their last option by traveling to Las Vegas to start a family of their own through international surrogacy. Through the lens of one family, the film demonstrates the extreme lengths many gay couples go to have children, while highlighting the ever-expanding and controversial surrogacy industry.

Nicolas and Aurelien’s story is unique in that it is a portrayal of the same-sex experience in creating a biological family through surrogacy, a technology developed in the 1980’s becoming more and more commonplace each year. This technology is one that has not only brought hope to couples who struggle with infertility but also to couples who struggle with equality. But while it is a source of hope for many, surrogacy also raises ethical considerations with various legal implications across the globe.

Men Having Babies Corner

Lisa Schuster, GPAP Program Director at Men Having Babies and a former surrogate, talks about stigma and stereotype in surrogacy and how to deal with it when raising your child. It’s important not to hide your child’s birth story.

Upcoming MHB Events

April 19, 2021 – Member Webinar – Preparing for Birth: Bonding with Your Baby.  From pregnancy to toddlerhood, learn about what promotes bonding, how dads bond with their babies, and what is (or isn’t) important for forming that bond. Learn more

2021 West Coast Surrogacy Conference, May 15-16: For gay men who want to become parents through surrogacy, the MHB educational conferences are a rare opportunity to get curated information, expert advice and access to a wide range of relevant service providers — and from an unbiased non-profit organization. Register here

Episode Credits

Co-Hosts: Yan Dekel, Alex Maghen
Guests: Nicolas and Aurelien, Lisa Schuster
Opening Theme: Hercules & Love Affair, “Leonora” buy here

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