The Amendment in Israel that had proposed letting same-sex couples participate under Israel’s surrogacy law has passed. To Same-Sex couples, the law now applies just as it previously did to married couples. Singles are now also included under the new law. Though this will likely mean fewer Israeli couples traveling overseas for their surrogacy journey, we are pleased that they will now be treated as equals in their own country.
A welcome initiative by Minister of Health Yael German has led to the approval of the Amendment to the Law for the Agreement to Carry Embryos, known as the “Surrogacy Law”.
According to the Amendment proposed by the Bill, undergoing the surrogacy process will now also be allowed in Israel for same-sex couples, couples that are not married, and individuals and not just married heterosexual couples. Until now, many people were compelled to undergo the surrogacy process overseas, and were confronted by many obstacles in doing so.
Alongside those who support the Amendment to the Surrogacy Law, there were also those who opposed it in the Knesset’s Ministerial Committee for Legislative Affairs. In their opinion, “Not everybody is the same. Not everybody is a family and not everybody is equal.” The Amendment’s supporters thought otherwise and felt certain that expanding the possibility of undergoing surrogacy in Israel for same-sex couples and individuals is the right thing.
This is only the start of the way forward but we are talking about a significant milestone. In the next stage, the Bill to amend the Law must pass the second and third readings in the Knesset plenum. But it can certainly be said that the way has been paved towards equal rights for same-sex couples, couples that are not married, and individuals in Israel who want to set up a family that is sometimes different from the traditional family. For the first time in Israel, there is equality in bringing children into the world and the ability to set up a family, between heterosexual couples and other couples and individuals.
The Amendment to the Surrogacy Law was preceded by the work of the professional committee headed by Prof. Mor Yosef, which submitted recommendations back in 2012. The Amendment to the Surrogacy Law is based on the principles raised by the committee’s recommendations.
The Bill to amend the Law stipulates that the surrogate mother can undergo three procedures of returning fertilized eggs or two births that are successfully completed. The age of the prospective parents is restricted to 54 for at least one of them (on the date that the surrogacy agreement is signed) and at the start of the procedure they can already have just one child. Individuals that request to undergo the surrogacy process by law can only begin the process if they have no biological children at all. The surrogate mother must undergo medical and psychological tests and receive the required approvals to commence the procedure.
The Amendment to the Law proposes increasing the maximum age for surrogate mothers from 36 to 38 and providing married women with the option of being surrogates on condition that they have already undergone pregnancy and childbirth. The minimum age for surrogacy has not been lowered from 22.
Another change in the Bill for the Amendment is that the surrogate mother can be a family member such as a sister or cousin, but not a mother or grandmother to one of the prospective parents. The aforementioned changes expand the possibilities and will increase the chances of bringing children into the world through the surrogacy process.
For the first time, the payment to a surrogate mother in Israel has been limited to NIS 160,000 for the entire process. This amount does not of course include the cost of tests. With this the total costs of the surrogacy process can amount to more than NIS 200,000.
With this, we are moving towards a situation of genuine equality in all matters regarding bringing children into the world and building a family that is not the typical family.
Same-sex couples, couples that are not married, and individuals will not have to travel overseas in order to realize their natural rights to parenthood and to set up a family. In the event that the amendment to the Surrogacy Law passes its second and third readings in the Knesset plenum, it will be a most significant step in our development towards creating real equality in all matters relating to bringing children into the world. We are talking about a welcome initiative and we must not accept the voices of those objecting, and who think that “not everyone is equal.”