Manon Serrano, who was switched at birth and her mother Sophie Serrano
Manon Serrano, one of two women switched at birth more than 20 years ago, and her mother Sophie SerranoReuters

A French court has awarded two 20-year-old women inadvertently switched at birth €400,000 (£297,000) each in compensation.

The private clinic in the Riviera city of Cannes where the two women were born was also ordered to pay €60,000 to their three siblings and €300,000 to the parents concerned, for a grand total of €1.88m.

The families had initially sought damages for €12m but their lawyer deemed the ruling delivered by a court in Grasse, southern France, to be satisfactory.

"I am perfectly satisfied because responsibility within the medical chain was acknowledged," said lawyer Gilbert Collard.

Sophie Serrano gave birth to her daughter at Cannes' Clinica Jourdan in July 1994.

A nurse's assistant however mistakenly handed her another baby girl, Manon, who was in the incubator next to their natural child. Their child was in turn given to another mother.

The two families started having doubts as the babies grew up showing different features to their parents.

Manon's curly hair and olive-toned skin were the object of village rumours that she was "the postman's daughter", something that eventually led to Serrano separating from her husband, the court heard, according to Le Figaro newspaper.

A DNA test carried out in 2004 revealed that she was born to a different couple - who have preferred to remain anonymous.

Manon's natural parents were located living in a nearby town and the two families teamed up to file a lawsuit against the clinic in 2010.

"It's a relief. We have waited for this for so long," Serrano told iTele after the ruling was handed.

The family decided against swapping back the children and have distance themselves from each other.

"Social, educational and cultural differences added to our pain and subconscious rivalry had the better of our relations," Sophie Serrano told Le Figaro.

In December Manon said meeting her natural family, who are from the island of Réunion, was "a pretty disturbing moment".

"You find yourself in front of a woman who is biologically your mother but also a stranger," she said, according to Le Monde.

It was not immediately clear if the clinic was to appeal.