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Information for Donors
Legal aspects

Legal position in Germany

Germany currently has no satisfactory legislation to help delineate the relationship between donors, aspiring parents and children.

The following applies for donors:

  • As a matter of principle, the donor will remain anonymous to the aspiring parents. This provides the donor protection from possible claims on the part of the aspiring parents.

  • The donor is not provided with any information on the use of his sperm samples or on the number or identities of the children conceived using his sperm, or of their parents.

  • According to current law, the donor is not completely protected against possible claims related to a child originating from his sperm donation (inheritance claim).

  • This might result, in theory, in claims under property law against the donor or his heirs. If a child conceived with the aid of a sperm sample who is now an adult is informed by her/his parents of the nature, time and place of her/his conception, she/he has the right and the possibility to find out the identity of the genetic parent from the doctor or the sperm bank. This may - at least in theory - have consequences under property and/or inheritance law.

  • The German Children's Rights Improvement Act (section 1600 of the German Civil Code, abbreviated to KindRvErbG), which entered force in 2002, included provisions to strengthen the protection of the sperm donor against possible claims for child support. This law makes it impossible to contest paternity and eliminates the possibility of any conceivable attempt on this basis on the part of the (social) father to undermine the obligation to provide child support (for example, in case of divorce). This also ensures that the child will always have the right to child support and the inheritance of the parental couple as long as the couple has (as is naturally always the case) provided written consent for treatment.

    Sources for section 1600 of the German Civil Code, German Children's Rights Improvement Act (KindRVerbG)

    Arrow German Bundestag printed paper 14/8131,
    legislative period 14, January 30, 2002, Recommendation for Decision and Report of the Legal Committee (6th Committee) regarding the draft law from the Bundesrat (printed paper 14/2096). PDF symbol PDF file, page 3

    Arrow German Bundestag printed paper 16/4094
    dated January 18, 2007, PDF symbol PDF file, page 15

    Arrow Children's Law PDF symbol PDF file, page 12

    However, there is debate among lawyers as to whether any recognition of paternity provided before pregnancy can be legally binding. This is particularly applicable in the case of unmarried couples.

    In order to provide additional protection of the resultant risk of a successful contestation of paternity suit filed against the sperm bank or sperm donor, we make use of a regulatory construct in the form of a release of the sperm donor from any claim under a contract in favour of third parties. This means that the aspiring parents must provide the sperm donor with compensation for any damages under property law that he may incur. As a result, the sperm donor no longer needs to fear being compelled to make child support payments after a successful paternity suit on the part of the woman's (former) partner.

  • It is our view that the only residual risk for any of the people involved is in the field of inheritance law, since blood relatives and their family members always have a counterclaim. However, the exercising of this right is absolutely conditional on the blood relatives being aware of each other.


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