Shalom Life | January 31, 2015

Same-Sex Surrogacy Close to Becoming Law in Israel

Health Minister's measure to allow LGBT, single-parent use of country's surrogacy services has passed first reading in Knesset

By: Moran Azulay

Published: October 29th, 2014 in News » Israel

Same-Sex Surrogacy Close to Becoming Law in Israel

Photo Caption: Same-sex couples arriving from Thailand

Photo Credit: Motti Kimchi


After a divisive floor debate, the Knesset plenum approved legislation on Monday to allow same-sex couples to use surrogacy services on first reading. Health Minister Yael German's proposal must still survive a second and third reading before it is passed into law.

The new amendment to the existing surrogacy law would cover single-parent cases and the use of surrogate mothers abroad. During the fractious session, 45 Knesset members supported the proposal, 15 opposed, and three abstained.

The proposal intends a dramatic change in surrogacy policy, easing the bureaucratic maze same-sex couples faced, specifically when the surrogacy process was undertaken in foreign countries.

German's amendment does not explicitly address LGBT parents, but allows "every individual" to become a parent using the surrogacy services – up until the age of 54. The surrogate mother's maximum age was raised two years to 38, while a Health Ministry committee would supervise the process, with costs limited to 160,000 shekels.

The initiative was supported by most factions in the coalition – Yesh Atid, Yisrael Beiteinu, Hatnua, and the Likud – while the opposition had internal disagreements. Zehava Gal-On, Tamar Zandberg, and Michal Rozin from Meretz opposed the proposal while Nitzan Horovitz and Ilan Gilon supported the amendment.

Labor chose to unanimously support German's proposal, though some faction members chose to abstain to demonstrate their disapproval.

Naftali Bennet's Bayit Yehudi stringently opposed the measure, claiming it would change the family structure in Israel – but the faction allowed its members to independently vote in order to quell disorder.

The religious party, Shas, spoke out against the proposal. "This is a corrupt law. Only sinner could support it," said MK Nisim Ze'ev. "What is this import and export of babies? It's like we're talking about frozen meat. The law allows for the creation of a child without the approval of the father. What is this chutzpah?"

"Is it not immoral that a woman can do something behind her husband's back? The law permits fraud and deception, encourages sins and crimes, and hurt the husband who doesn't know that a baby was born that was not his."

Reprinted with permission from Ynet News

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