Gay dads in surrogacy battle are petitioning High Court to let them return to Israel amid coronavirus lockdown

Seventeen gay couples locked in a surrogacy battle are petitioning the Israeli High Court to allow them to return home with their babies amid the coronavirus lockdown.

The Israeli fathers all went through the surrogacy process in the US or Canada, as surrogacy is not permitted in their home country.

Israel has taken some of the farthest-reaching measures of any country in the world to slow the advance of coronavirus, including calling on all overseas citizens to return at once.

But the men are unable to do so until they obtain the necessary travel documents for their children – and new coronavirus measures in the US and Canada are making that impossible.

“The babies and the parents are in mortal danger,” Julien Bahloul, the spokesman for the Association of Israeli Gay Fathers, told Haaretz.

“Israel has the obligation to enable the return of its citizens immediately and to halt its unnecessary bureaucracy that is preventing the entry of these Israeli infants to Israel.”

The couples are now petitioning the court to approve emergency travel documents for each Israeli infant born in the United States and Canada through surrogacy.

“Instead of the country enlisting to help each of the couples to enter [Israel] quickly with their children, it finds appropriate, in the situation of a global crisis, to take no action and avoid providing a solution to the Israeli infants,” the couples’ lawyers wrote.

gay surrogacy

Two gay fathers and their child (Stock image: Envato Elements)

They are supported by Hila Peer, the chairwoman of The Association for LGBTQ Equality in Israel.

“After the country prevented them from becoming parents in Israel, it is preventing them from returning and abandoning them in an emergency to the mercy of the health systems in foreign countries,” she said.

“We will do everything in our power to return the gay families home.”

Last week the Network of European LGBTIQ Families Associations warned that coronavirus lockdowns would have a serious impact on families going through surrogacy.

The organisation wrote an open letter stating that current restrictions are causing problems for LGBT+ families in cross-border situations.

They reported many cases of LGBT+ parents who have been trapped “far away from the woman who carries their child”, and called on governments around the world to take action to help these families.