Charron and Merle-Montet v France - inadmissible

The Fifth Section of the European Court of Human Rights has declared Charron and Merle-Montet v France, which concerns discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation in respect of medically assisted procreation, inadmissible on the basis that the applicants did not exhaust domestic remedies.

The applicants, a female same-sex couple, have been married since May 2014. Wishing to have a child together, they decided to turn to medically assisted procreation. In December 2014, they sent a request for treatment to the Centre for Reproductive Medical Assistance at the University Hospital Centre in Toulouse. The request was ultimately denied on the grounds that "the Bioethics Law currently in force in France does not allow the treatment of homosexual couples".

Relying on Article 8 alone and in conjunction with Article 14 of the Convention, the applicants complained to the Court that they had suffered a violation of their right to respect for their private and family life and discrimination in the exercise of this right based on sexual orientation. 

The Court decided that, because the applicants had not appealed to the administrative courts in France to challenge the decision of the Hospital, they had not exhausted domestic remedies, within the meaning of Article 35 § 1 of the Convention. On this basis, the Court unanimously declared the application inadmissible.