Danish woman may not adopt “surrogate children” of her husband


Northern Europe


Twin born of a Ukrainian surrogate mother. Image not related to the article. Photo AFP, Olexander Zobin

The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg ruled that the Danish state had not violated the rights of a woman who wanted to adopt the twins of her husband that he conceived with a surrogate mother from Ukraine.

The Danish authorities had refused to approve the adoption of the twins by the wife of their biological father. That is reported by Kristeligt Dagblad. The woman had brought the case to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, arguing that the state had violated her right to family and privacy, which is enshrined in Article 8 of the Human Rights Convention.

Even though the European Court acknowledged that it would be in the children's interest to allow their adoption by their Danish stepmother, the judges ruled in favour of the Danish state. According to Danish legislation, the adoption cannot be ratified because money was involved in the agreement with the Ukrainian surrogate mother.

The children were born to a Ukrainian woman in 2013. Afterwards, they moved in with their biological father and his wife in Denmark. The wife considers herself to be the mother of the children. Danish adoption legislation allows a spouse to adopt his or her stepchildren, Kristeligt Dagblad writes. That way, these children get the same judicial status as any biological children. That is what the Danish woman requested.

However, Danish legislation prohibits adoption if financial interests play a role. It is forbidden to deal with children as commercial objects. Therefore, the Danish authorities ruled that adoption was not possible in this case.

The couple argued that the Ukrainian surrogate mother had not received any payment for delivering the child. She only received an amount of 200 euros a month to cover the expenses of her pregnancy, they argued. Yet, the authorities found it problematic that the Danish couple paid 32,000 euros to the fertility clinic. They assessed that some money was also used to pay the surrogate mother. Thus, they judged that this case did not fulfil the legal requirements for adoption.

The European Court of Human Rights agrees with the Danish authorities. It furthermore ruled that the privacy of the twins in question was violated. Thus, they must be compensated with a payment of 5,000 euros each.



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