On December 10, 2014, a landmark court decision was made by Bundesgerichtshof, the German Federal Court of Justice, which has given legal recognition to a California surrogacy judgment of parentage. The decision states that the intended parents who are the legal parents to a child born of a surrogate mother must be recognized in Germany.
This is a groundbreaking decision as Germany has always been against granting parental rights to parents via surrogacy. In fact, it orders German public authorities to validate foreign decisions on family status and follows the ruling in the European Court of Human Rights decision in the judgment of Mennesson v. France and Labassee v. France.
In this particular case, a child was born to a gay couple from Berlin. They had a son born through the use of a gestational surrogate in California in 2010. In the US, the California Superior Court formally declared both men as the child’s legal parents; however, they were not afforded the same recognition when they returned home to Germany.
The Court effectively ruled that, in the interest of the ‘child’s welfare’ and consistency of care, the foreign authority’s decision in the matter must be respected.
The decision will certainly have an impact on both same-sex and opposite-sex couples in Germany, but particularly for gay couples, who continue to lobby for joint adoption rights in the country. And, this ruling will effectively also open the doors for parents who want to create their family via surrogacy in the United States.
Keywords: surrogacy, surrogate, German surrogacy, parental rights, surrogate mother, gestational surrogate, California surrogacy, child via surrogacy, gay surrogacy