It girl and US hotel heiress Paris Hilton has announced the birth of her first child. According to media reports, a surrogate mother gave birth to the boy. Surrogacy is still illegal in Germany.
“You are already loved more than anything,” wrote Paris Hilton on her latest Instagram post. The photo shows an adult hand with white painted fingernails holding a baby’s hand. The hotel heiress confirmed to the US magazine “People” that she and her husband Carter Reum, whom she married in November 2021, recently became parents of a son via surrogacy: “We are so excited to start our family together and our hearts exploding with love for our baby boy,” she told the magazine. It was not known exactly when the baby was born.
The 41-year-old frequently discussed the fact that Hilton wanted children. Back in December, she told the newspaper that she had eggs removed during the lockdown caused by the pandemic and had started artificial insemination with her husband. That was the “perfect timing” to “have all the eggs in stock and ready.”
A surrogacy that helped Paris and her husband to have their own child would not have been possible in Germany. Because according to the Embryo Protection Act (§ 1 Misuse of Reproductive Techniques), it is a criminal offense in Germany to artificially fertilize an egg cell in order to induce a pregnancy in a woman from whom the egg cell does not originate. This also applies to unfertilized foreign egg cells.
In this country, doctors and agents of surrogate mothers must expect a fine or imprisonment of up to three years. However, this does not apply to the intended parents or the surrogate mother, who are not punishable.
Other countries in Europe such as the Netherlands, Denmark and Great Britain are not as restrictive in this respect and allow surrogacy under certain conditions. However, only if surrogate mothers do not receive a fee for this and they carry a “strange child” for purely altruistic reasons. For example, when women in the circle of acquaintances or relatives agree to help the intended parents to have their own child.
In the United States, on the other hand, commercial surrogacy is legal in some states. Agencies specialize in placing surrogate mothers. Some of them receive large sums of money from US$ 35,000 upwards. Commercial surrogacy is also legal in countries like Ukraine, South Africa and India.
Since surrogacy is often the only way to have your own child, German couples also take advantage of the opportunity abroad. In addition to high costs, this is also associated with numerous legal complications. Because according to German law, the person who gave birth to the child is considered the mother.
So far, legalization of surrogacy has been rejected in Germany for ethical reasons. Because especially for surrogate mothers, the treatment and pregnancy are associated with higher health and psychological stress and thus represent a significant risk.
Nevertheless, legalization of non-commercial surrogacy is also under discussion in Germany. For example, the FDP has been calling for the creation of a clear legal framework for the legalization of non-commercial surrogacy in addition to the legalization of egg cell and embryo donation for some time. “The possibilities of reproductive medicine should be accessible to everyone, regardless of marital status and sexual orientation,” the party said.
pro familia, the leading professional association for sex counseling, sex education and family planning in Germany, which advocates the right of all people to self-determined sexuality, has been dealing with this topic for years. “The association is currently discussing whether there are criteria according to which surrogacy in Germany can be designed based on rights for all those involved and what these could look like,” said FOCUS online.
One is aware that a ban on surrogacy curtails the reproductive self-determination of intended parents. However, the woman’s right to self-determination who decides to carry out surrogacy must also be respected. “There are major concerns that women are being exploited through surrogacy,” a spokeswoman said. Due to this difficult balancing of interests, pro familia would not have positioned itself conclusively on the subject.
In May 2022, the European Parliament sharply condemned commercial surrogacy in a resolution on the “Impact of the war against Ukraine on women”. As a result, women around the world are at risk of exploitation, especially poorer women and women in situations of great insecurity, such as in the context of war, it says.
Sexual exploitation for the purpose of surrogacy and procreation is therefore unacceptable and constitutes a violation of human dignity and human rights. According to the resolution, more than 2000 babies are born to surrogate mothers in Ukraine each year. Around 1000 couples from Germany “bought” a child there.