The district court in Dortmund ruled on Thursday that the doctors must bear financial responsibility for the five-year-old twins created from the frozen sperm which had been slated for destruction – because they did it without the permission of the father.
The man, who portrayed himself as a victim of his partner's deceit and likened the use of his sperm to a robbery, said he was relieved by the verdict.
“There was no desire on my part to have children at that time,” the 40-year-old told the court.
He said his relationship with the children's mother was practically at an end at the time of the insemination, he admitted he could not explain why she had chosen to go through with the procedure.
The man, a packaging designer from Hattingen in North Rhine-Westphalia, had his sperm frozen in 2004. The storage contract was limited to twelve months. The twins were born in November 2007.
Delivering her verdict, Judge Gisela Kothe-Pawel said, “The sperm should have been destroyed after a year. We are satisfied that the complainant did not agree to the use of his sperm for an artificial insemination.”
During the trial, the doctors had explained that they did not expect problems, as they had only previously dealt with people with a longstanding and profound wish to have children.
The court fixed the doctors' obligatory support payment at the legal minimum, to be paid until the children turn 18. The judge dismissed any further claims. The doctors may appeal the verdict at the Federal Court of Justice.
The father said he has only seen his children – a boy and a girl – on one brief occasion, and does not know whether the situation will change in the future. Speaking after the verdict, he admitted, “I fear the day that they ask who their father is.”