Surrogacy still illegal for gay couples in Israel under new law

A new bill in Israel is set to allow single women access to surrogacy, however gay couples will continue to be excluded under the new legislation.

Surrogacy laws in Israel are extremely strict, and up until now the only people allowed access to surrogacy in the country were infertile married heterosexual couples.

It is currently illegal for gay couples to use a surrogate mother in Israel, however they can use a surrogate abroad if they wish.

(Photo: Creative Commons)

The bill passed through Israel’s Labour, Welfare and Health Committee on Monday by an 8-4 vote in favour of the new legislation, despite pleas from LGBT+ politicians to cater for their needs.

It will now pass to Israel’s assembly, the Knesset, where it will likely be voted into law.

Amir Ohana, who is an openly gay representative for Israel’s Likud party, proposed an amendment to the legislation which would allow gay couples access to surrogacy, however it was defeated.

He spoke openly about his own experience of accessing surrogacy outside of Israel, according to the Jerusalem Post.

“When I and my partner wanted to establish a family, we were forced to go to a country thousands of miles away,” he said.

“The twins were born before full term and we could not be there. We turned the world upside down in order to find a Jew who didn’t even know me, who lived close by, to be there so someone would be there by their side.”

He said that he was “not inciting against the rabbinate or against the religious” and said he was “just asking for a little humanity.”

Itzik Shmuli, who is a representative for the Zionist Union party and is openly gay, also objected to the restrictions against gay couples accessing surrogacy.

“I want to be a father but I cannot be a father,” he said. “In order to do this, I need to [ask about doing it in] a foreign country, pay $140,000 and hope everything will be OK.

“My life is full, but there is always this element which is lacking, which is with me everywhere I am,” he added.

He said that gay people are “good enough to serve the state, but not good enough to be parents”, and called the law “an insult which I can’t describe. It is simply a discriminatory situation, and hurtful and insulting and not decent.”

Meanwhile, Moti Yogev, a representative for right-wing ‘The Jewish Home’ party, who was also on the Committee, argued that the “natural family is a mother and a father and children” on local radio.

“A child searches for belonging to his mother, and in this [homosexual] kind of surrogacy he doesn’t know who his mother is… Who gave us permission to bring children [into the world] into a deficient situation?” he added.

He went on to say that it was “the position of the ethical world”, and that the family of mother, father and children is “the past, present and future.”