March 2013

March 2013

Archive for the month: March 2013

Prof. Katzorke expresses himself unveiling in the FAZ
In the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on 23.2.2013 an article by the journalist Martina Lenzen-Schulte with the title The needs of donors have appeared unimportant, in which the legal status of sperm donations is critically assessed. As much as we generally agree with donor children on this critical assessment, however, most of the false regulations are being criticized.

This is probably mainly due to the fact that the defendant in the so-called sperm donation judgment of the Higher Regional Court Hamm from 6.2.2013, Prof. Katzorke, is strikingly cited. Honesty, it would probably have to be more of an interview with him or an exclusively authored by him article. Of course, he has a great interest in justifying his actions in the past and in talking small about the meaning of the verdict. Therefore, his statements require some corrections and comments:

1. Statement of the judgment

Apparently, he initially did not read the verdict correctly. It is by no means the case that the judgment merely compels him to search his archive and can not force a name change if there were no more documents on the case. On the other hand, the judgment clearly states that the provision of information is only impossible if the information required for the information can not be obtained even after a comprehensive search. This research requires not only a comprehensive search for the meaningful written documents, but also a comprehensive survey of all employees who have something to contribute
The whereabouts or content of the documents in question. A search of the archive is therefore not enough, especially because he had already pleaded during the procedure to have done this.

2nd time – the storage time for the donor documents

Of course, Prof. Katzorke emphasizes again that the retention period for the documents allegedly lasted only 10 years. In this context, we have often referred to the 30-year retention period from the IVF guideline of the German Medical Association, which Prof. Katzorke wisely conceals. It is noteworthy, however, that the journalist Martina Lenzen-Schulte accepts this as a fact and comes to the conclusion: “The head of the largest German seed bank (…) has therefore made no offense, if the files or files are already destroyed.”

3. Right to contact the donor is not unclear

Equally inaccurate is Prof. Katzka’s statement that even in a case where the name of the donor is known, it is completely unclear who should determine the nature and extent of the contact with the biological father. This is by no means unclear, because of course the donor – like any other genetic father – can not be forced into contact with his child if he does not want to. The child has a right to know his name, but not to contact.

4. No reduction in readiness for sperm donation

At least misleading is the remark that in the United Kingdom in 2005, when the anonymity of the sperm donation was lifted, donor numbers declined significantly. The number of donors normalized after a few years and it is assumed that only the type of donor has changed. There is also no evidence that British people with a desire to have children could not meet this due to a lack of sperm donations.

That was not sufficient as an argument for anonymous sperm donations but apparently: Since some countries exclude homosexual men from donating sperm, allegedly some (unfortunately unnamed)
The fear that with the removal of anonymity only a limited pool of donors would be available. The relevance of this statement for Germany is completely unclear, because homosexuals are allowed to donate seeds here. Other countries would also be free to allow homosexuals to donate sperm in the event of a ban on anonymous sperm donation.

5. Lesbian couples are by no means better off with sperm donations

It becomes completely abstruse when Prof. Katzorke claims that same-sex couples are better off than heterosexual couples, because a life partner can adopt the child conceived by sperm donation, while the paternity of the male social father can be challenged by the child. Therefore, in his opinion, sperm donors need to be counseled so that in a donation to lesbian couples in practice, they are less likely to be liable for maintenance later than a donation to heterosexual couples.

That’s exactly what’s wrong. Indeed, with same-sex couples, the partner can actually adopt the child, and adoption can not be challenged by the child. However, adoption is possible only after the birth of the child and a longer process in which the motivation of the adopter (s) is also checked. No one can therefore legally bind themselves to adoption – this means that their partner can change their minds at any time until the adoption process has ended. In such a case the child does not have a legal father and the donor can be identified immediately as a father and be obliged to provide maintenance in principle. Precisely for this reason, many fertility clinics in Germany do not treat lesbian or single women.

In heterosexual couples, the husband is automatically considered the father of the child, or the man can recognize the child even before birth. The child can not challenge paternity until the age of 18. For this reason, a legal donation is much safer for heterosexual couples.

In general, however, the emphasis on these risks is out of touch with reality, as no sperm donor has ever been given a living in Germany.

6. Enlightenment

It is also frightening how little Katzorke seems to be aware of his responsibility to the family, which arises with his help and in which the parents are often in a situation in which they urgently need advice. The FAZ reads: “If the parents ask me what is better – clarify or not – I tell them that I do not know,” admits the doctor frankly.

And that, despite many years of adoption research, which emphasizes the harmfulness of family secrets, and the reports of adult and late-informed donor children that they have felt the silence of the parents as a breach of trust. Quite apart from the fact that the child has a right to knowledge of his descent – but of that Prof. Katzorke does not think so much anyway.

The journalist (or Prof. Katzorke himself) then states that the question of whether parents should educate their children is not “really scientifically answered” and that the children who knew about the sperm donation would not fare better than those who did do not know. Apart from the fact that this statement once again lacks any evidence, the question of how to define the well-being of the children and measures how much the effects of family secrets can be determined at all and how to risk the risk of involuntary discovery taken into account the children. The ethically correct behavior would therefore be to advise the unsettled parents to educate the children. But then Prof. Katzorke would probably have to fear more requests for information from donor children.

7. The supposedly exaggerated expectations of donor children

Prof. Katzorke continues to try many times to ridicule the desire of donor children for knowledge of their descent and warns against the supposedly exaggerated expectations of donor children: ?? For some, the biological father has a veritable salvation function, they hope for a Brad Pitt, and then he has thinning hair and is an old man.

Here, we donor children really ask us where he got it from – did a donor child actually write to him that the donor certainly looks like Brad Pitt? We do not know anyone who has such wishful thinking about the donor. We just want to know who he is.

Therefore, this rather represents the perspective of Prof. Katzorke on the motivation of donor children, so he does not have to deal with it more precisely.

8. The desire of women – worth less?

As in many interviews, Prof. Katzorke does not omit the comment that especially young women ask him about their genetic father. What does he mean to express that – that one must take this wish less seriously?

9. So far, few complaints – so probably?

Finally, Prof. Katzorke emphasizes that out of 10,000 children conceived in his clinic, only about 40 to 50 were asked for donor names and so far only one lawsuit has been filed. However, this is not confirmation that only a few donor children have this desire, but rather an effect of the fact that Prof. Katzorkes previous strategy, not to advise the parents to educate and to discourage the requests for information from donor children, so far was unfortunately all too successful. And which young person complains when the doctor of the parents with full authority claims that the donor has a right to anonymity and in general there are no more documents?

10. Our conclusion

The conclusion of Prof. Katzorkes, legally let the victims themselves, we would therefore relate to the most serious consequences on us donor children. Above all, it undermines our rights that the prohibition of anonymous sperm donations, the right to knowledge of ancestry and a consequent longer storage period for the treatment documents of sperm donations were not set so clearly by law that it is not possible to get out of doctors like Prof. Katzorke.

Our hope that Prof. Katzorke as chairman of the working group “Donogene Insemination” would be more insightful after the verdict was better informed with this article. It is only to be hoped that over time, physicians who think differently will assert themselves, who care about the well-being of parents and donor children and not just an obsolete business model. And the FAZ is recommended to check statements by a physician on law and psychology at least once against.

Statement on the press release of the German Association of Donor Insemination

After the judgment of the Higher Regional Court of Hamm on 6 February 2013, the Federal Association Donogene Insemination, whose chairman is the defendant, issued a press release. This contains numerous false claims and therefore requires a correction:

1. No unresolved legal situation before the judgment

Contrary to what was stated in the press release, the legal situation regarding the right to information of donor children and the retention period for data prior to the Tissue Law 2007 or the judgment was not unclear. The The retention period for donor data was over 10 years before the 1980s, because the professional regulations for doctors, which contain the relevant retention periods, it was written until the 90s that documents must be kept for more than 10 years, if this requires the medical experience. The right to knowledge of ancestry has been the prevailing legal opinion since the 1970s. In 1989, the Federal Constitutional Court ruled on the right to knowledge of one’s own descent, preceded by a similar decision in 1988.

Although decisions of the BVerfG have no direct effect, they influence the assessment of general clauses. In this case, reproductive physicians should have come to the conclusion at the latest at this time that the donor data must be kept in order to ensure the right to knowledge of their own descent. There was therefore no law required for the retention of donor data.

In addition, since December 15, 1986, the guidelines of the Medical Association for the implementation of in vitro fertilization with embryo transfer and the intratubar gamete and embryo transfer as treatment methods of human sterility ?? with a 30-year storage period for treatment documents. The existence of these guidelines is kept secret by the Bundesverband Donogene Insemination.

insofar there can be no question of legal uncertainty or any other legal situation prior to the judgment or the Tissue Act. Rather, some physicians have chosen not to interpret clearly defined duties in their favor in a way that makes them inapplicable. The fact that this interpretation was not compulsory is made clear by the fact that some doctors have kept the donor data for longer than 10 years.

2. Required abolition of the right of avoidance not justified

The donor insemination working group continues to call for a legal exclusion of the current right of donor children to challenge the paternity of their legal father within 2 years from 18 years of age or knowledge of the sperm donation. We can not understand this and believe it to be wrong.

The sperm donor can legally be protected differently and, above all, for donor children in a legally less incisive way from maintenance claims, for example, in which it is excluded that a sperm donor is legally established as a father. For donor children, on the other hand, as part of the right to know their own descent, it must still be possible within a short time to decide whether to agree with the assignment of a genetically unrelated man as father.

In the future, we are happy to work together with the Federal Association for Donor Insemination to improve the legal situation of semen donors, for whom the Verein Spenderkinder has been demanding a statutory exemption for maintenance and succession claims for several years. Collaboration, however, does not get any easier if the German Association for Donor Insemination tries to talk down and gloss over the mistakes made in the past. This makes us donor children very doubt whether in this association a change of mind has taken place.

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Christina Cherry
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