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Surrogate children have no right to German passport, court rules

The Local · 28 Apr 2011, 11:41

Published: 28 Apr 2011 11:41 GMT+02:00

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The court in Berlin ruled that the German embassy in India was within its rights to refuse a passport to the child, born in December, on the grounds that the citizenship of the biological father was irrelevant to the case.

Surrogate motherhood is prohibited in Germany. It is permitted in India. But under both German and Indian law, the legal father of a child born by surrogacy is actually the surrogate mother’s husband.

The biological father in this case was a German man born in 1950. He and his wife applied at the German embassy in India for the child to get a German passport.

The embassy rejected the application because it doubted the child’s German citizenship. The birth certificate from the hospital recorded the German man and his wife as the parents. The place of birth was recorded as an agency that specializes in surrogacy.

German citizenship is normally recorded if one of the parents has it. But the court ruled that doubts about this relationship were grounds for refusing a passport. In this case, the citizenship of the biological father was not legally relevant.

The parents are able to appeal the decision to a higher court.

A similar case two years ago made headlines when twins born to an Indian surrogate mother were denied entry to Germany. Not until May 2010 were visas issued after the Bavarian couple fought the case through the courts.

The twins were born at the beginning of 2008. The German authorities denied the infants passports because surrogate motherhood is not legal in Germany. The authorities in India issued the children with travel documents only after months of debate. Eventually these were stamped with German visas.

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The Foreign Ministry states expressly on its website that children born to surrogate mothers overseas to German “hopeful parents” do not acquire German citizenship at birth.

“The phenomenon is widespread in India where many childless Germans go to fulfil their wish to have babies,” Stephan Groscurth, a spokesman for the court, said on Wednesday. “They think it is possible without any problems to take the child to Germany. But that’s not the case.”

DPA/The Local/djw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

12:38 April 28, 2011 by mehta_p

Sorry, I can't find worse adjective...!!!
17:09 April 28, 2011 by charlenej
The issue of using surrogate mothers from India is debatable, but does this mean surrogacy in any form is illegal in Germany? I'm unclear about that. If so, that would be horrible. What if the egg and sperm belong to the biological parents? What if the surrogate is German?
19:46 April 28, 2011 by vonkoenigsberg
Why are they going to India, of all places, to do this? It is legal in other countries besides India. Why would Germans want a half Indian baby that looks nothing like them? How about adoption of actual Germans as an alternative? The law is the law, however, and Germany has a respectable legal system that should be observed.
21:01 April 28, 2011 by aschwab
What a shame...what a shame....
22:44 April 28, 2011 by Dlocal
on Vonkoenigsberg: grow up buddy....

what about more than 35000 Germans living in India and quite a few thousands married to Indians having a child who have legal right to German and Indian passports...how are they different from this case....dont even get me started how many Germans are in inodnesia .. you know doing what?

utter nonsense....to allow a century old east european if he proves biological german forefather but to deny a biological half german child his or her right to german passport...

well said...Charlenej...what if the surrogate was a German and in India.....
03:44 April 29, 2011 by DrStrangelove
I can hardly imagine that this decision will hold up. While the article isn't very explicit, there seem to be two possible cases: Either the Indian woman was inseminated with the German man's sperm, or a fertilized egg was taken from the German couple and implanted into the Indian woman's womb.

In the first case, the situation would be equivalent to that resulting from an extramarital affair, in which case German citizenship would surely be granted to the kid. I can't imagine that the method of insemination can determine citizenship, so citizenship must be granted in this case.

The second case would be similar to the insemination, except that now both germ cells derive from the German couple. If citizenship must be granted in case the father's germ cell is implanted, then surely the same must apply if the mother's germ cell is implanted, too; anything else would amount to gender discrimination.
09:50 April 29, 2011 by tallady
That seems very reasonable to me DrSl.

If the courts say there is a reasonable amount of doubt as to the authenticity of one of the parents being German then do a DNA analysis of the three.

Surely the court would consider this validation, as not to would be pure discrimination.
17:57 April 29, 2011 by DrStrangelove
Another point to consider is that withholding citizenship punishes the kid for a crime (if we want to call it that - I don't see anything wrong with such arrangements between consenting adults) committed by the parents. Surely that can't be right.
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