I have just received word from a client in Germany that the Gerichtshof, Germany’s high court, has ruled that surrogate arrangements are immoral in Germany. This is not a surprise as Germany, like most countries, has always prohibited compensated surrogate arrangements. What was particularly newsworthy and troubling about this decision was that the Gerichtshof also ruled that it is illegal for German citizens to bring into the country any child born out of a surrogacy arrangement, regardless of where the arrangement took place.
While I have not yet received a copy of the decision, this ruling appears to be in response to the much publicized surrogate arrangement involving a married German couple who used the services of a surrogate in India. Germany refused to extend citizenship to the twins born to this German couple by a Ujarati surrogate mother. India similarly refused to extend citizenship to the twins leaving the German couple with no ability to obtain passports for their children to leave India. As we have blogged about, the Indian high court has set a hearing for this matter on Friday to determine if the twins qualify as Indian citizens.
Regardless of how India rules, this decision by the Gerichtshof may have created an insurmountable barrier for German citizens who are reliant upon a gestational carrier to begin their family. While these individuals were precluded from working with a surrogate in Germany, they always had the option of turning to places like America to work with a surrogate. With this ruling, that may no longer be possible. I will post the critical portions of the court’s ruling as soon as I have it translated. In the meantime, if you are a German national working with a surrogate, you should speak to an attorney immediately.