In Germany “donor conceived” children have the right to know who their father is

While the European Court of Human Rights has adopted an irresponsible decision that, if unchallenged, will greatly facilitate practices such as sperm and egg-cell donation, surrogacy and – ultimately – child trafficking, elsewhere there is increasing awareness how those practices violate fundamental rights.

In Germany, the Supreme Court (“Bundesgerichtshof”, BGH) has issued a decision according which “donor conceived” children have the right to know the identity of their biological fathers. This right is independent of the child’s age, and overrides any contractual agreement according which sperm donors were allowed to remain anonymous.

This is a landmark ruling. Until now, the matter was regulated by contractual agreements concluded between reproductive clinics, sperm donors, and wannabe “parents”. These agreements took into account solely the interests of those involved in making them, but not of the children that were fabricated in such a way. But despite being “fabricated” those children are human beings, and therefore have human rights that must be respected.

The BGH decision is a very important first step into that direction. But it certainly cannot be the last one.