Can a private sperm donor who has made it possible for a lesbian couple to become parents have a right to access to their child? According to a ruling by the Federal Court of Justice: yes.
A private sperm donor who has made it possible for a lesbian couple to become parents can have a right of access to their child.
This also applies if the mother’s partner has since adopted the child, as the Federal Court of Justice (BGH) in Karlsruhe announced on Monday.
In the case of sperm donation via an official sperm bank, it is legally excluded from the outset that the donor can later assert his position as father. If the donor comes from the mother’s private sphere, however, the matter is more complicated.
In the now decided case from Berlin, two women in registered civil partnerships had fulfilled their desire to have children. The year after the birth, the partner adopted the child, and the sperm donor agreed. He had regular contact for the first five years and the child also knows who his father is.
Only when the man wanted more intensive contacts did the break occur. He would like to pick up the child every 14 days and spend the afternoon alone with him. He had applied to the responsible local court in vain, the Berlin Chamber Court rejected his complaint – there is no legal basis for a right of access in his case.
The highest family judges of the BGH see it differently: According to their decision, the sperm donor is to be treated like any other man whose child is adopted by the mother’s husband. In other words, according to the German Civil Code, he has a right of access if he has “shown a serious interest in the child” and “the contact serves the best interests of the child”. Whether this is the case here has to be checked again by the Chamber Court. The BGH emphasizes that today’s seven-year-old child must also be asked for his or her opinion.