There is great news out of Israel this week. Same-Sex couples will be extended the same rights as hetero sexual couples in Israel once a new bill passes. This is encouraging news for Israeli couples, and will also hopefully make surrogacy in the United States more accessable to them as well.
Surrogacy rights to be extended to same-sex couples
Health Minister Yael German
Photo credit: Gideon Markowicz
Pending the passing of new legislation, same-sex couples will be allowed the option of paid surrogacy, putting them on par with heterosexual couples on the issue, Health Minister Yael German announced on Wednesday.
German also plans to control compensation for surrogate mothers, currently ranging from 200,000 to 250,000 shekels ($57,000 to $71,200), to prevent prices from rising even further due to high demand. The new bill is set to be presented for approval on Jan. 15.
“This is a revolution that will dramatically change the lives of people who, until now, have been unable to realize their right to become a mother or a father, to hold a baby in their hands and to enjoy him as he grows up. Just because a man does not have a womb, it does not mean that he cannot fulfill his longing to become a father and raise a child,” said German.
German accepted the recommendations given by a committee of experts headed by National Insurance Institute Director-General Professor Shlomo Mor-Yosef, one of which would allow same-sex couples to pay surrogates the way heterosexual couples do, rather than be forced to find a voluntary surrogate mother. The law on egg donation will also change to allow for homosexual couples to become parents this way.
Recent figures show that 58 babies were born to surrogate mothers in 2011 and 49 were born in 2012. About 100 requests for surrogacy are processed in Israel each year. Ninety-three babies were born to surrogates outside Israel, and adoption procedures were initiated by their Israeli parents.
Michael (name changed), who along with his partner is in the midst of the surrogacy process in India, said: “The total cost, before flights and board abroad, is more than 230,000 shekels [$65,500]. There is a lot of uncertainty in the process and we are very concerned.”
MK Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz) called on German to advance the bill even without coalition support.
“The rights to parenting and family life are fundamental rights and everyone deserves them,” Horowitz said. “These important rights should not fall victim to the power struggle between parties.”
Israel’s National Association of GLBT (gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders) said in a statement: “We are talking about a significant landmark in equal rights for the GLBT community in the fields of parenthood and relationships.”