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Israeli Health Ministry proposes to allow surrogacy for gay couples

Israeli Health Ministry proposes to allow surrogacy for gay couples

Israel’s Health Ministry has advised its parliament that it intends to put forward a proposal so that Israeli same-sex couples no longer have to travel overseas to access surrogacy.

The proposal, announced Sunday to the Knesset Interior Committee, comes after 65 babies born to surrogate mothers in Thailand were blocked from returning to Israel with their gay Israeli fathers after Thailand placed a moratorium on non-Thais seeking surrogacy services.

The bill would allow same-sex couples to obtain surrogacy by allowing individuals to seek surrogacy in Israel.

The Health Ministry has most likely chosen this path to avoid annoying right wing religious government coalition partner the Bayit Yehudi party which has sought to block other efforts to formally recognize the existence of same-sex couples in Israeli law.

The governing parties had to come to a compromise in December when Bayit Yehudi threatened to block a plan to allow same-sex couples with children the same tax breaks as opposite-sex couples and achieve the reform.

However the Yesh Atid party are still moving forward with a civil unions bill which Bayit Yehudi have said they will absolutely veto under the terms of their coalition deal with Yesh Atid and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party in order for them to form government.

In the meantime Foreign Ministry Director-General Nissim Ben Sheetrit told the Jerusalem Post that a deal had been reached with Thailand so that the Israeli parents who have used Thai surrogates can bring their babies home.

‘Despite the complex political situation in Thailand, we reached an agreement in which the mother can come to the Israeli embassy with a signed letter saying she is giving up the baby. Any couple who can do that will get a passport immediately,’ Sheetrit said.

As many of the Israeli couples using Thai surrogates have babies that have not yet been born the agreement will last until November this year.

After then Israelis will no longer be able to access surrogacy in Thailand unless the Thai government changes its policy.