A child born to a surrogate mother in India has been refused a German passport despite the commissioning German parents being named on the birth certificate.
The German couple made the application to the German Embassy in India but a passport was refused after the embassy said it had doubts over the child's German citizenship. The place of birth on the child's birth certificate was stated as an agency which specialises in surrogacy.
A court in Berlin ruled the embassy was entitled to refuse the application. Normally, German citizenship can be acquired by a child if one parent is a German national. But under German law the legal father of a child born to a surrogate is considered to be the surrogate mother's husband not the biological father. The court said in this case the biological father's German citizenship was legally irrelevant.
'The phenomenon is widespread in India where many childless Germans go to fulfil their wish to have babies', a spokesman for the court said. 'They think it is possible without any problems to take the child to Germany. But that's not the case'.
A similar case arose two years ago when twins born to a surrogate mother in India were denied entry to Germany due to German surrogacy laws. The twins were born in 2008 and although a travel document was issued, visas were not granted. The Bavarian parents fought the case in the courts and entry visas were issued in May 2010.
The German Foreign Ministry advises that children born to surrogate mothers overseas to German commissioning parents will not automatically acquire citizenship at birth. The couple are able to appeal the decision.