We provide an overview of adoption and surrogacy in a cross-border context

Interesting facts about foreign adoptions

While the number of intercountry adoptions has declined in recent years, the number of surrogate adoptions carried out abroad appears to be increasing.

The 1993 Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Cooperation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (HCCH 1993 Adoption Convention) contains basic rules for international adoptions. These are based on the principle that parents should be sought for children and that only children for whom no adoptive parents can be found nationally should be placed abroad. Despite the existing convention, children's rights are still violated in connection with intercountry adoptions and existing regulations are not always complied with. In order to ensure the safety and rights of children, the existing conventions and other protective measures must be expanded and strengthened. 

In Germany, surrogacy is prohibited by law. Nevertheless, more and more children of German intended parents are being born abroad through surrogate mothers and then brought back to Germany by their intended parents. In these cases, different solutions must be found for the children, who, like all children, have the right to legal and actual parents as well as the right to know their parentage. As surrogacy is permitted and legally recognisable in some countries, different legal grounds must be considered depending on the country and constellation. ISD advises professionals on this topic, deals with the legal classification of surrogacy and contributes to statements on the subject. A group of experts from the International Social Service (ISS), in which ISD was involved, has drawn up the "Principles for the protection of children's rights in connection with surrogacy", also known as the "Verona Principles". 

Activities of ISD in the field of international adoption

ISD monitors the development and implementation of draft laws, guidelines and conventions in the field of adoption and surrogacy and supports them by issuing statements and recommendations. In addition, the International Social Service (ISS) network, of which the ISD is a German member, is part of transnational bodies such as the Council of Europe and the Hague Conference on Private International Law. Thus, ISS has the opportunity to contribute to international standards - such as the adoption of the Hague Convention. 

Individual case work

ISD does not provide support in individual cases of adoption. For individual case support please contact the second German member of the ISS, "familie international frankfurt e.V." (fif). Fif offers advice and support in cross-border adoptions for professionals and private individuals (https://fif-ev.de/). In addition, fif can provide support in the search for relatives or the search for the origins of adults.