Surrogacy, where a women uses her womb to carry a child for another couple, is illegal in Germany, but a ruling by Germany’s high court on Friday has provided gay and childless heterosexual couples a small victory when it ruled that surrogacy done abroad must now be legally recognized in the country.
The issue was brought to the court when a gay couple returned to Germany after their son was born in California via surrogacy. In the United States the two men were registered as the legal parents of the child, but upon returning home, Germany authorities would not offer the same recognition.
While surrogacy is still illegal on German soil, the court ruled that if the surrogacy took place in a foreign country that legally recognizes the couple as parents, it is “part of a child’s welfare to be able to rely on the parents to have continuous responsibility for its well-being.”
This is a win for both straight and gay couples, but the ruling is being seen as having a much larger impact in the gay community, which has been unsuccessfully fighting for adoption rights in Germany.
Up until this ruling, the only way same-sex couples could adopt a child in Germany was if it was born to one of the partners in an earlier heterosexual relationship. This ruling, however, provides gay couples with another method of parenthood until Germany decides to grant rights with fewer loopholes.