In Germany too, the partner of a woman giving birth to a child should soon be a co-mother. Finally. But rightly, the proposed law sets limits and insists on the two-parent principle.
At the beginning of a modern puzzle game: A gay couple witnesses the birth of a partner and a donated egg cell a child and leave it to a lesbian girlfriend. This friend has already had children using a sperm donation from the other gay man. In what relationship do the children stand with each other?
Completely as complicated as this case from the US, the family constellations are rare, but it shows the challenges that life today places on a new right of descent. Because the old law urgently needs to be reformed, it has not been clear to everyone since marriage. Especially when reproductive medicine comes into play, the question about the parents is often unclear. Up to three pairs of parents can theoretically have a child today. Many other countries have therefore reformed their laws years ago.
Federal Minister of Justice Katarina Barley (SPD) now wants to create more clarity in Germany with her draft for a new right of descent. Many of the innovations go back to 91 theses of the "Arbeitskreises Abmammrechtrecht", an eleven-member panel of lawyers, social scientists, psychologists, physicians and constitutional lawyers. For example, in the draft, lesbian couples are strengthened. In the future, the partner of the woman giving birth to a child should automatically be recognized as a co-mother with all rights and obligations. The elaborate stepchild adoption, which is so far necessary, would be omitted. For many rainbow families that would be a tremendous relief: in about 90 percent of same-sex families, two women educate the children together.
Basically, in the future, the second parent should be the one who, together with the mother, agreed to have a child given a semen or embryo donation with medical help, usually the husband or partner – provided that the donor waives parenting. The declaration to take over parenthood would then take the place of the act of procreation.
There are also rare cases in Barley's "draft bill": What if a married pregnant woman whose child is from a sperm donation separates from her husband? Here it should be possible to assign paternity to the new partner. The handling of frozen embryos is finally regulated: If the biological parents agree, surplus embryos can be donated.
All these innovations are correct and long overdue. The most important thing, however, is that the two-parent principle should continue to apply in the future. Unlike some gays and lesbians, a child will not be able to have three or four parents – at least not in the law. Even if that sounds like a lot of nest warmth and progress, the right must always have the worst case scenario in view: a breakup. Where would the child live then? Who would pay for maintenance? Who would the child have to visit on what day? With whom go on vacation? And even if nobody separates: who pays, if later the two parents couples are in need of care? With all progress must therefore apply: The best interests of the child are above those of the parents.