Have lesbian babies
At some point, Theresa is certain, it will become a problem for Lucia that she has two mothers. "At a certain age, children don't want to attract attention, especially not because of their parents." Lucia is still a baby, one year old, and she does not yet know that parents are in most cases a man and a woman. Her biological mother is Theresa, her social mother is called Sabine.
The two Munich women have been a couple for eleven years, and for almost ten years they talked about how much they want a child. Sabine wanted a child in her previous relationship, "I would have become the biological mother." In her current relationship, she is the older at 47. That's why 37-year-old Theresa had herself artificially fertilized. She had the semen sent to Germany from an American sperm bank.
11,400 children of same-sex couples
Homosexual parents like Sabine and Theresa are now being perceived more and more and more accepted by society. For example, Federal President Horst Köhler said in his speech at the annual reception of the Evangelical Academy in Tutzing that even in same-sex families it could be possible to prepare children for life.
Bernd Eggen from Familien -forschung Baden-Württemberg has evaluated figures from the microcensus: According to this, around 11,400 children lived with homosexual parents in Germany in 2004. He estimates that the real value is three times as high.
But in Germany in particular, lesbian women find it very difficult to fulfill their desire to have children. Adoption is even more difficult for same-sex couples than for heterosexual couples and has only been legally possible for two years.
Most of those affected opt for artificial insemination. Which begs the question: How do you get the sperm? Many couples look to their friends for a man to ask. Theresa and Sabine also have a gay friend who for a long time toyed with the idea of giving them his sperm. "But then he found the partner of his life," says Sabine.
He then no longer wanted to enter into paternity - for legal and emotional reasons. Understandable: A sperm donor can become a father with rights and obligations. That means he may have to pay maintenance and on the other hand he can also sue for his rights of access.
Even if Theresa and Sabine would have preferred a well-known donor, they opted for the sperm bank. What they experienced leads far into the jungle of German and European health guidelines. The two wanted their future child to know his father's name as early as possible. However, a child can request this information from European sperm banks at the earliest at the age of 16.
Reproductive tourism in the EU
Apart from that, it is generally difficult for lesbian couples to perform artificial insemination in Germany. According to the German Medical Association, single women and same-sex couples are out of the question. Sperm banks in Great Britain, Denmark or Spain, on the other hand, also treat lesbian women, which is why there has long been real reproductive tourism in these countries.
"Yes, the demand from lesbian women has increased significantly," says Thomas Katzorke, director of the Center for Reproductive Medicine in Essen, Germany's largest sperm bank. He treats about 3,000 married couples every year, lesbian women only in exceptional cases; after all, as a doctor, he is in a legal gray area. It is clear to him that the sperm bank as a "producer" can be financially prosecuted. "Lesbian patients are a bit in the air. I hope that there will soon be treatment options for them in Germany," says Thomas Katzorke.
So Europe's sperm banks were out of the question for the couple. After extensive research on the Internet, Sabine came across an American sperm bank. It is important there that potential children know their parentage right from the start; the donors already reveal their names when the baby is three months old.
The Rainbow Flag Health Service offers a lot of potential donors on its homepage - including information about age, height, eye color, upbringing and sexual orientation. Sabine and Theresa decided on a sperm donor named John because he made "such a liberal impression" in his questionnaire. He wrote that everyone should "be happy in their own way". The two women liked that.
After the couple signed the contract with the sperm bank, the sperm was shipped from the United States to Germany in a nitrogen container. "That cost us nerves, because the expiry date had to be observed", reports Sabine. "I phoned customs a dozen times so that the tank wouldn't get stuck."
Contact with the biological father
At around 3,000 euros, the transport was the most expensive part of the entire artificial insemination. The addressee of the tank was a Munich doctor who immediately froze the seeds. He had agreed to perform the intrauterine insemination at Theresa. Selected sperm cells are inserted directly into the uterus. It took Theresa eight months to get pregnant. During the birth preparation course, she and Sabine appeared as parents for the first time. "But I was only allowed to be there once," complains Sabine. "It was the same with all fathers," says Theresa and laughs.
When Lucia was three months old, Theresa first contacted her father in San Francisco. A brief email with a photo came as an answer. "That was disappointing," says Theresa. "I expected more." This year or next, she wants to visit John with Sabine and Lucia. The two mothers would have preferred to have a father present for Lucia, who visits them regularly. "The male principle should not be missing in a family," says Theresa. "Just the way men play with children, for example shouldering them, is something we cannot offer."
Reproductive medicine and psychotherapist Heribert Kentenich, head of the Fertility Center Berlin, is skeptical of anonymous sperm donation. He refers to a study in which "insemination children" who live with lesbian mothers were asked about the father problem. Many children wanted to get to know the sperm donor, which is why it makes sense to Kentenich to treat lesbian women only with identifiable donors. Seen in this way, Sabine and Theresa acted in an exemplary manner.
Today, both of them find their way around in their everyday life with children. "We actually only got positive reactions," says Sabine. "Being a mother connects whether the mother is homosexual or heterosexual." The only negative voice was that of an acquaintance. He had said: "Oh, can you buy children now?"
The editors changed the names of those affected.
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