No Sex With a Man? Italy Tells Lesbian Couple They Can’t Register their Baby

Imagine being told that unless you pretended to have had sex with a man, you and your female partner cannot register your baby.

This peculiar sounding circumstance is the unfortunate reality that Italian citizens Chiara Foglietta and partner Micaela Ghisleni face because of of Italy’s laws regarding same-gender couples and their families.

Italy provides civil unions for same-gender couples, but this partial recognition does not translate into the country’s fertility laws. Established in the 2003/2004 legislative period, fertility treatments are only available for so-called “stable heterosexual couples” who cohabit and, among other criteria, are clinically infertile.

Same-gender couples are de facto barred from fertility treatment by several of those criteria. Foglietta and her partner conceived their child via artificial insemination in Denmark, but because Italy has no framework for recognizing such unions, the couple say they were told they would have to lie.

Writing in a Facebook post about their experience, Foglietta reportedly said: “The staff told me ‘you should declare that you had [sex] with a man to get your boy registered. There is no formula allowing you to say that you had artificial insemination.’”

As seems to often be the case in more progressive areas of Italy, like Turin, where the couple now reside, officials actually support their being able to register the child. Last week, three same-gender couples in Turin, including Foglietta and Ghisleni, were able to register their children without lying.

The Italian law remains in place, but this is a heartening first step toward changing the law.

In 2017 a male couple won the legal right to both be recognized as the fathers of a child they had conceived via a surrogate in Canada. The case, which was decided in the Court of Appeal in the northern city of Trento, hinged on Article 29 of Italy’s Constitution which guarantees citizens the right to a family and the need to safeguard the rights of a child.

The two cases are quite different, but at their heart is the same constitutional principle: that the right to family life is guaranteed both under Italian law and, certainly, under European law. To ask a person to lie or otherwise obscure how they conceived and would raise a child shows just how demonstrably out of touch Italy’s current laws are and why they desperately need to change.

Given the lengthy fight to legalize civil unions, it appears that this will not be remedied by the Italian parliament in a quick manner, however the courts do have the ability to interpret the Constitution and could therefore use the 2017 ruling as a precedent.

Clearly, though, that is not good enough and something needs to be done at the highest level to remedy Italy’s surrogacy laws which are woefully discriminatory and out of touch.


Urge Italian President Sergio Mattarella to make the issue of reforming surrogacy laws in Italy a priority so that same-gender couples are never again faced with having to lie in order to register their child. Sign the petition now!

Related at Care2

Photo credit: Thinkstock.


Marie W
Marie W4 months ago

Thanks for this post

Sophie L
Past Member 10 months ago


Sabrina D
Past Member 10 months ago

Good morning to everybody. I'm Italian and live in northern Italy. I agree with David Fleming. anyhow, we have had recently a case like this in a small town near me.

Angela J
Angela J10 months ago


Cindy S
Cindy Smith10 months ago

people are mean

Deborah W
Deborah W10 months ago

AND WHAT ABOUT THOSE WHO ADOPT ... no sex at all. What happens then?

pam w
pam w10 months ago

Absolutely ridiculous! BUT--we all know a very few homophobes who stalk threads like this one. Maybe they should move to Italy?

Past Member 10 months ago

Come on Italy join the real world .

Winn A
Winn A10 months ago

Petition already signed in April 2018

Chad A
Chad Anderson10 months ago

Thank you.