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The Fertility Show

Surrogate child denied German passport

09 May 2011

By Nisha Satkunarajah

Appeared in BioNews 606

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.


The Local - Germany's news in English | 28 April 2011


06 June 2012 - by Natalie Gamble 
Indian surrogacy is a hot media topic, with several stories over the past week about couples being stuck in India waiting for British passports for their biological children. As far as we are concerned, this isn't really news – it is the shared experience of every British parent who has had a child through surrogacy in India, and something we deal with on a daily basis.... [Read More]
19 August 2011 - by Dr Petra Thorn 
Germany is said to have one of the most restrictive legislation in the area of assisted reproductive technology (ART) treatments. In contrast to the UK, both oocyte donation and surrogacy are prohibited by the Embryo Protection Act. Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) has only become permissible as of July this year – it can now be carried out if the child will be born with a severe genetic disease, or if the embryo is so severely impaired that the pregnancy... [Read More]
08 August 2011 - by Antony Blackburn-Starza 
The UK's High Court has awarded legal parenthood to a deceased father of a child born through a surrogacy arrangement in India.... [Read More]

18 April 2011 - by Nisha Satkunarajah 
France's highest court has denied French citizenship to 10-year-old twins born to a French couple using a surrogate in the USA, reaffirming the country's ban on surrogacy... [Read More]
12 January 2009 - by Louisa Ghevaert 
Pressure for a review of surrogacy law is mounting in legal, media and political quarters following the case of Re X & Y (Foreign Surrogacy) 2008 (reported in Bionews on 14 December 2008). The case - the first to test the law for British couples going abroad for surrogacy - has highlighted the... [Read More]
14 December 2008 - by Ben Jones 
A British couple this week won custody over a pair of twins born to a surrogate mother in the Ukraine. The twin babies were caught in a legal loophole whereby the expectant British couple were unable to bring the twins into the UK, as they were not... [Read More]
31 January 2000 - by BioNews 
The surrogate twins of a homosexual British couple have been granted indefinite leave to stay in the UK by the Home Secretary. Last month, the twins had been denied automatic entry to the country by Heathrow Airport immigration officials when their two fathers tried to bring them in from America... [Read More]
10 January 2000 - by BioNews 
The three-week-old surrogate-born twins of a British homosexual couple have been refused official entry into the UK. The twins and their fathers were detained by immigration officers at Heathrow airport as the family tried to return to their UK home, and the passports of the children have been confiscated. The... [Read More]

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