The German Embryo Protection Act of 1990 prohibits all surrogacy arrangements, whether compensated or voluntary.
Contracts and agreements between a surrogate and intended parents have no legal validity under German law.
No reimbursement of expenses is allowed for the surrogate mother beyond basic pregnancy costs.
Advertising for a surrogate or intended parents seeking one is illegal and can mean fines or jail time.
Clinics and agencies cannot facilitate or assist with organizing a surrogacy in Germany.
The surrogate is always considered the legal mother at birth, not the intended parents.
After birth, intended parents may pursue adoption of the surrogate child, but it is difficult.
Some advocacy exists for allowing non-commercial, altruistic surrogacy but it remains banned currently.
Infertile couples wanting a surrogate must pursue options outside Germany where surrogacy is legal.
So in essence, due to the Embryo Protection Act, all surrogacy is treated as an illegal arrangement in Germany. Intended German parents have no choice but to go abroad if they require or prefer having a child via surrogacy.
Infertile couples or singles from Germany can build families by:
Adopting children domestically or internationally is legal and can be a lengthy process requiring home studies.
Foster care –
Long-term fostering of a child with option to adopt later is possible.
Altruistic surrogacy –
A voluntary arrangement with a friend/family member as surrogate is not prosecuted but has no legal validity.
Embryo adoption –
Using donated embryos for IVF is allowed and leads to full legal parentage.
International surrogacy –
Going abroad to a country where commercial surrogacy is legal. Ukraine and Georgia are common destinations.
There can be some legal and administrative challenges for German intended parents bringing a child born via international surrogacy back to Germany:
The child may not be automatically granted German citizenship. Parents must apply for German citizenship through proper channels.
Birth certificate –
Getting the foreign birth certificate properly translated and certified can be tricky. There may be issues listing the intended parents instead of surrogate.
Legal parenthood –
Establishing legal parent-child relationship and getting German documents can be difficult without surrogacy laws. May require court or adoption orders.
Travel documents –
Parents need to obtain passport, visas and exit permissions to travel back with an infant. Complications can arise.
Health insurance –
Getting foreign-born child enrolled quickly onto the parents’ insurance plan may require bureaucratic hurdles.
Ethical concerns –
Some officials frown upon international surrogacy and may scrutinize cases closely. Need to avoid perceptions of trafficking.
Social stigma –
Despite increasing openness, social taboos around surrogacy persist. Parents often keep origins secret.
As surrogacy leihmutterschaft in Germany/Deutschland is prohibited by law, the German system is not designed to easily integrate children born abroad through surrogacy. Expert legal help is essential to navigate the complex administrative process and avoid pitfalls. But most intended parents are eventually successful.
Paying a surrogate directly in Germany is illegal. However, the following costs are usually incurred in the context of surrogacy:
Medical costs: In Germany, artificial insemination and pregnancy care can cost around 15,000 to 20,000 euros.
Travel expenses: Since surrogacy is illegal in Germany, many couples travel abroad, where additional costs for flights, accommodation etc. arise.
Agency fees: In the case of surrogacy abroad, surrogacy agency fees can be around 15,000 to 30,000 euros.
Lawyer’s fees: For legal representation and security, another 10,000 to 15,000 euros are often incurred.
Expense allowance: In countries where surrogacy is legal, the surrogate mother can receive an expense allowance of around 25,000 to 50,000 euros.
In total, the costs of surrogacy leihmutterschaft – can quickly amount to 60,000 to 100,000 euros or more. Despite the ban in Germany, the actual “payment” of the surrogate mother only accounts for part of the total costs. The medical, legal and organizational aspects also cause high expenses.
Raising a child with another single person/couple outside of marriage. Requires legal planning.
Fertility tourism –
Traveling for IVF using own eggs/sperm combined with international surrogacy.
Advocacy for law change – Infertility groups lobby to legalize altruistic surrogacy and loosening of IVF restrictions.
So for now, infertile German couples must either pursue difficult workarounds or go outside the country if they require a surrogate or would like biological children. There is pressure to create regulated pathways.