The Federal Court in Karlsruhe ruled on Wednesday that an infertile Stuttgart man who agreed for his girlfriend to be artificially inseminated could not wriggle out of paying for the child's upbringing.
Judges said that it was irrelevant whether the couple were married or not, and that not legally accepting fatherhood of the baby was also of no legal importance, reported the Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ).
The deciding factor was the man's initial acceptance of the woman's desire to be artificially inseminated with donor sperm, the judges decided.
In the specific case, the man had agreed in writing to the procedure.
At the time, although the couple lived in separate apartments, he was present for the baby's birth in 2008 and initially paid for her care. But three months later, he changed his mind and stopped supporting the mother with money.
The Stuttgarter must now pay the mother of the child, who is now seven years old, over €17,000 in back-payments.
“The child only came into being through the consent of the man,” explained presiding judge Hans-Joachim Dose.
Consenting to artificial insemination gave the man the same responsibilities as a biological father, the court ruling read.
The ruling is likely to set a constitutional precedent as German law tries to catch up with the fact that advances in science mean parenthood is more complicated than natural insemination.
“We jurists must become accustomed to the fact that that parenthood is more than just the biological type between two partners,” Heinrich Schumann of the association of family lawyers told SZ.