Majority of French now favour allowing surrogate motherhood: poll

PARIS: A majority of French people would favour allowing surrogate motherhood, though primarily only for medical reasons, a poll showed on Wednesday, highlighting a shift in attitudes as France prepares to review laws relating to assisted reproduction.

All forms of surrogacy, where a woman gives birth to a child on behalf of someone else, are banned in France, as in several other European countries such as Germany. Some countries like the United Kingdom allow for altruistic surrogacies, not commercial ones.

The French government will launch a debate on a new bioethics legislative pact this year, which could see medically assisted reproduction extended to female gay couples and single women, a stance favoured by President Emmanuel Macron.

He opposes introducing surrogate motherhood, however.

Until recently public opinion was also against surrogacy, but the poll by Ifop, published in La Croix, a Catholic newspaper, found that 62 percent of French people were now in favour of it.

Of those, 46 percent would only back surrogate motherhood if there were medical reasons to do so, while 18 percent said they supported it in all circumstances.

In a similar poll last September, 52 percent of French people rejected surrogacy under any form, versus 36 percent now.

France's previous Socialist government legalised same-sex marriage in 2013, drawing a strong unexpectedly show of opposition in the run-up to the law from conservatives, especially Roman Catholics, and large street protests.

France's highest court has since made it easier for children born through surrogacy abroad to a same-sex couple to be recognised as citizens and adopted by the partner of the child's biological father.