FDP (Free Democratic Party of Germany) wants to legalize embryo donation and surrogacy in Germany. In addition, in the future, up to 4 people will have the right to bear responsibility for the child.
Catherine Helling-Plar, a member of the Free Democratic Party of Germany, insists that the rules for treating infertility be lawfully and massively liberalized. “The embryo protection law is outdated and needs to be reformed”, – faction expert told Tagesspiegel. Compared to other countries, Germany’s policy is “very doubtful”. In addition, the laws on origin and adoption after marital bonds require a “quick reset” for everyone, a political expert said. “We demand a reform that will finally take into account social reality”.
“Everyone who wants to take care of the baby deserves support”
In fact, it is an initiative of the deputy from the Free Democratic Party on three most cardinal changes. She requires the full support of infertility treatment for all couples, regardless of family model. She wants to legalize existing reproductive and medical capabilities: egg donation, embryo donation and also non-profit surrogacy. She also requires family law to take into account non-traditional family constellation, as well as enact multiple paternity – up to 4 people.
“Everyone who wants to take care of the baby deserves support in the treatment of infertility” – regardless of living according to the typical family model or not”, the seven-page normative document says, with which Helling-Plar wants to advance the obsolete, from her point of view, reform. 25 percent of women and men aged 20 to 50 are barren against their own free will, emphasizes the politician of the Free Democratic Party, who, before starting work in the Bundestag in 2017, worked as a medical lawyer. The cost of infertility treatment often amounts to five-digit sums. Although there is government support that makes treatment available for many couples. But it is still fraught with improper and restrictive conditions.
Subsidies for infertility treatment should not depend on the place of residence
The age limits for funding established by law are “arbitrary and ignore the interests of infertile couples”, says Helling-Plar. The limit of infertility treatment attempts should depend on the evaluation of the success chances in each individual situation. And under no circumstances “the issue of whether or not someone can afford treatment should depend on the place of residence and thus on luck”. Until now, the issue of subsidies for unmarried couples has been resolved by each individual federal land where couples who need treatment live. Medical insurance only covers half the cost of treatment if an applicant has a marriage certificate.
The fulfillment of the desire to have a child in this country often collapses not only because of a lack of money, but also because of “outdated and incomprehensible bans”, the FDP politician complains. The current embryo protection law dates back to 1990. Since that time, values and medical opportunities have changed worldwide. Due to the fact that the laws abroad are much more “modern”, many Germans turn to the services of egg donation and surrogacy from outside, which are prohibited here.
In most European countries, egg donation is allowed
In the future, egg donation and embryo donation should be legalized in Germany, Helling-Plar claims. According to the law, these possibilities should be guided by the existing provisions on sperm donation. This means the following: for these donations, central registers must also be created through which children can find out who their parents are.
Along with Switzerland, Norway and Luxembourg, Germany is currently the only country in Europe where egg donation is prohibited. Also, for surrogacy, no one will be forced to “go abroad, where women are exploited in a hopeless situation”, the politician says. “We want to make surrogacy possible in cases if, for example, a woman wants to gestate a child for her sister or for her best friend who wants to bear a child on her own, but is not able to”. Such surrogacy can “be legal only if it is carried out from purely altruistic motives and thus at no expense”.
Children must be allowed to have up to four parents
Along with this, there is a great need for reforming family law, the deputy insists. Due to the late legalization of same-sex marriages, there is a situation in which constitutional amendments are required: after all, children are treated differently, depending on whether they are born in a same-sex family or heterosexual family”. As a result, Helling-Plar continues, “up to four people will have the right to bear parental responsibility for the child”. It is unacceptable that children suffer from having different parents.
Germany must be an “innovator of progressive change”, the FDP politician claims. For example, recently France made it possible to treat infertility for singles and lesbian couples. And in Spain, women from the age of 18 have the right to become pregnant with the help of sperm donation – no matter whether being single, homo or heterosexual. “We must ensure access to such treatment methods in our country, regardless of the thickness of the wallet”.
Scientists also insist on liberalization
Science also sees the need for reforms, Helling-Plar emphasizes. A few months ago, the National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina expressed itself in favor of a global reform of the law of reproductive medicine. Moreover, 6 years ago, recognized lawyers already submitted a proposal for a new law on reproductive medicine. We are talking about the recommendations of 6 lawyers who gained specialty in medical law and healthcare law at universities of Augsburg and Munich. They also demand the legalization of egg donation and surrogacy, because there is no argument that the well-being of the child allegedly suffers from “dual motherhood”. Embryo transfer should also be allowed so that excess embryos created in this way cannot be disposed.
“Donor children” warn against surrogacy assumptions.
Spenderkinder community (“Donor children” from German) strongly criticizes the draft of the Free Democratic Party and, especially, the requirement to legalize surrogacy. “There is no such right to have a child or the right to be parents,” told Deputy for Public Rights Anne Mayer-Kredner to the KHA news agency. There is a consensus among psychologists that “the deliberate separation of the baby from his intimate person, whom it can recognize by smell and voice, can cause maximum damage.” Therefore, the question arises of whether or not it is justified “to expose the baby to such stress so that adults can fulfill their desire”.
Children who are carried to the birth by a woman and then adopted by a couple should not be considered a “trade item,” the deputy warns. Leopoldina has also formulated the interests of parents and the law on reproductive medicine on a unilateral basis. The community protects the interests of more than 100 adults who were born through sperm donation. According to unconfirmed reports in Germany, there are more than 100,000 of people like that. But most of them do not know anything about their origin.