Claudia Mayer

Ordre public und Anerkennung der rechtlichen Elternschaft in internationalen Leihmutterschaftsfällen

Jahrgang 78 () / Heft 3, S. 551-591 (41)

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The Recast Brussels I Regulation – Quantum Leaps in European Civil Procedure Through the use of gestational surrogacy modern artificial reproductive technology provides infertile couples with new opportunities to become parents of children who are genetically their own. While surrogacy is lawful under certain circumstances in a limited number of countries worldwide, in others – including Germany – it is prohibited. Consequently, international surrogacy tourism to countries that allow surrogacy, such as India, the United States, or Ukraine, is booming. However, there is no legal regulation at the international level regarding this matter. Due to the current legal situation in Germany, infertile couples face severe difficulties in view of the recognition by German courts or by public authorities of their legal parenthood of a child born abroad through surrogacy: Not only is surrogacy illegal in Germany, its prohibition is also considered as part of the German ordre public. Based on this perception, German authorities deny the recognition of existing foreign judgments conferring legal parenthood upon the intended parents, as well as the application of more liberal foreign substantive law, thus paving the way for a recourse to German law: According to the relevant German provisions, the woman who gave birth to the child – i.e. the surrogate mother – is to be considered as the legal mother, and her husband is the legal father. As a consequence, in many cases the child does not acquire German nationality by birth and is thus denied the right to a German passport and the right to enter Germany. In the worst case, the child does not acquire any nationality at all, leaving him or her stateless, which constitutes an unacceptable situation. This article shows that the German ordre public should not be considered as an obstacle to the procedural recognition of foreign decisions on legal parentage, nor should it hinder the application of foreign substantive law (designated by the German conflict of law rules) conferring legal parentage on the intended parents. Instead, already de lege lata the welfare of the child must be considered the primary and decisive concern in surrogacy cases. This also results from Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, guaranteeing the right to respect for one's family life. Regulation at the international level is overdue, and it is to be welcomed that international institutions have started to give attention to the matter. However, until an international consensus is reached, the national legislator should be called upon to revise the German law on descent, and to provide provisions legalizing surrogacy under certain conditions.

Claudia Mayer Geboren 1984; Studium der Rechtswissenschaft an der Universität Passau; Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin an der Universität Passau; 2009 Promotion; Rechtsreferendarin im OLG-Bezirk München; Masterstudium (LL.M.) an der University of Chicago; Akademische Rätin an der Universität Passau; 2017 Habilitation; seit August 2017 Inhaberin des Lehrstuhls für Bürgerliches Recht, Deutsches und Internationales Zivilverfahrensrecht an der Universität Tübingen.