A gay couple from Israel have discovered the baby girl they had been caring for since she was born is not their child – and have been forced to return the child to her parents.
Following the surrogacy process, the couple flew to Nepal last month to care for their child, and stayed in the country as they awaited the results of routine genetic tests.
All Israeli couples who use a surrogate abroad must prove the baby has a biological link to one of the parents.
Only once the results – which can take several weeks to come back – have been received, can the parents finalize the paperwork and bring the child back home.
In this case, the tests revealed there was no link between the baby and the couple.
The couple used the Tammuz International Surrogacy agency for the process.
In a statement, the agency said: ‘We understand the parents’ distress and the difficult situation in which they find themselves.
‘The company is closely accompanying the parents through the process and has made a psychologist available to them to help them cope.
‘When the matter became known the company conducted a thorough investigation that showed there had been a rare human error in the lab in Nepal, and as a result we have learned some lessons.
‘Tammuz works with the most advanced personnel in the surrogacy field, has faultlessly helped hundreds of families realize their dreams of becoming parents, and will continue to help in the future with a full commitment to preventing such things from happening again.’
The couple are now waiting for a second surrogate mother to give birth, to see whether their sperm was used in the fertilization of that child.
Israel’s surrogacy laws have not been amended since 1996; only heterosexual couples are legally allowed to use surrogacy in the country, so same-sex couples are forced to look for surrogates abroad.
Nepal’s Supreme Court banned foreign surrogacy in August 2015 following a ruling that surrogacy exploits poor women.
Israeli couples who started the surrogacy process before the change in the law will be able to collect their children until the last babies are born in around April 2015.