High Court Pushes Deadline to Fix Surrogacy Law After Elections

Tzci Joffre | Jerusalem Post | March 12, 2021

This article provides an update on Israeli surrogacy law: the High Court had sent back the latest amendment to the government after deeming it unconstitutional for failing to include single men and same-sex couples. LGBTQ activists have been advocating for changes to the law for 11 years. Most recently the government again attempted to avoid the issue, allegedly to deal with the coronavirus outbreak, but the Court granted the government only a four-month extension to July 1, after the upcoming March 23 elections.

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Blue and White Propose Gay Surrogacy Bill, Opposed by Netanyahu Faction

Gil Hoffman | The Jerusalem Post | December 1, 2020

Israel’s Blue and White party has submitted three new bills, including one that would allow gay men to hire surrogates within the country, expand the pool of local surrogates, and regulate international arrangements.

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Surrogates Left Holding the Baby as Coronavirus Rules Strand Parents

By Sirin Kale | The Guardian | May 14, 2020

This article features the stories of surrogates, intended parents, and children born through international surrogacy arrangements, whose circumstances have been drastically altered due to coronavirus restrictions. A surrogate in the US was asked by intended parents to look after the newborn after travel limitations made them unable to travel from China. An Israeli gay couple have been stuck in a New Jersey hotel room after flying with their four year-old son to meet their baby born to a surrogate in the US. Now they are unable to fly back to Israel because they cannot obtain the proper travel documents, and face mounting costs from their unexpected lengthy stay.

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Israel’s High Court Rules Against Surrogacy Law Excluding Single Men and Gay Couples

By Netael Bandel, Lee Yaron, and Johnathan Lis | Haaretz | February 28, 2020

For years, LGBTQ rights advocates in Israel have been fighting to broaden surrogacy rights. On February 20th, the High Court of Justice ruled that an existing bill prohibiting single men and gay couples from accessing surrogacy was unconstitutional. As this article explains, the state now has one year to amend the law.

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Initiative: Responsible Surrogacy

Responsible Surrogacy is a web-based project created by a group of volunteers in Israel. It provides people considering surrogacy with information on the ethical and practical aspects of an arrangement. The information is available in Hebrew and English.

The site is facilitated by intended parents who believe “the ethical responsibility for the surrogacy process lies with the intended parents.” From the About page:

Surrogacy is a difficult process for all involved in many aspects, and it is often initiated after much hardship for the intended parents. For those in need of it, surrogacy is commonly the last hope to raise a family. They reach it exhausted but with a sense of purpose. Perhaps that is why in many cases we have encountered upon building this information center there was a tendency of intended parents to neglect one of the most important points – on the other side of this process is a person.

The website functions like a database, providing information on issues related to the health and well-being of gestational mothers, including the fairness of the contract, monetary and legal considerations, and the woman’s relationship with the intended parents.

The site’s creators believe these – and other – aspects should be considered irrespective of where an arrangement is formed, but intended parents must also seek current and accurate country-specific information for guidance.

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Article: The Trouble with Renting a Womb

The Trouble with Renting a Womb
By Abby Rabinowitz | The Guardian | April 28, 2016

This long article is well worth the read. It follows a group of gestational mothers in India, providing unusually deep insights into their lives, the contexts that frame their decisions, and their experiences within surrogacy arrangements and after. It also features conversations with the clinics and intended parents that hire gestational mothers, and touches upon the controversial effort to ban the practice in India.

Excerpt:

Critics say it is unlikely that banning foreign surrogacy clients will protect poor Indian women or end the practice. For one thing, surrogacy remains legal for heterosexual Indian couples. For another, transnational surrogacy is notorious for its elaborate work-arounds. When the Indian home ministry abruptly banned gay foreign surrogacy clients in 2012, Indian fertility clinics shipped Indian surrogates across the border to Nepal. When Nepal also banned transnational surrogacy in 2015, as did Thailand, industry insiders told me they believed that Indian surrogates were being rerouted to African countries instead. They also said that the ban will merely drive the practice underground.

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