Health Minister Yael German on Wednesday accepted most of the far-reaching
recommendations of the Mor- Yosef Committee to reform the process of
If the proposal becomes law, despite expected opposition from
religious and other MKs, single women and single men will be entitled to sign
surrogacy arrangements to produce a child using their ova or sperm, whether they
are heterosexual or homosexual.
Homosexual and lesbian civil rights, and
other groups, hailed German (Yesh Atid) for her decision.
unmarried – whether homosexual or heterosexual – are barred from creating such
an agreement with an Israeli surrogate.
Under the proposal, the age limit
and status of surrogates would be expanded, to expand the small pool of willing
surrogates that has caused prices for the service to skyrocket.
current surrogacy law allows only heterosexual couples to give birth through a
surrogate mother. Many couples and singles are forced to go abroad to achieve
their dream of a child of their own.
The committee, which Health Ministry
director-general Prof. Ronni Gamzu appointed in June 2010, was headed by Prof.
Shlomo Mor-Yosef, the director-general of the National Insurance Institute and
former longtime director-general of the Hadassah Medical Organization who is an
obstetrician/ gynecologist by training.
The committee members had been
assigned to find ways to change laws regarding in-vitro fertilization, ova and
sperm donations, surrogate parenthood and other processes regarding
The committee was asked to protect the rights of the babies to
be born and the surrogates, and to equalize the rights of women and men
commissioning the surrogates.
German, who was mayor of Herzliya and a
member of the Meretz party when the committee was appointed, said she accepted
most of the recommendations and thanked the members for their important and
The principles they set down are to be turned into a
government bill, but with some changes; then it is to be brought to the cabinet
and on to the Knesset.
Equality is to be the guiding principle, expanding
paid surrogacy to single women who provide ova and want to be single parents and
to single men who provide sperm – instead of only to men and women who are
Under the proposal, once one person initiates a surrogacy
agreement, another single can be recognized as a parent of the child without
having to adopt it later; this is meant to suit lesbians and
The parent is also to be able to take ova abroad for
fertilization and implantation and to bring them to Israel – men will be able to
get donated ova in Israel and take them abroad, while women and couples will be
able to import them to Israel to perform the process here.
Women who act
as surrogates are to get additional rights through the improved organization of
the process, which is strictly private and is an arrangement among the
The government and the Health Ministry in particular are to
supervise but not be responsible for the results or pay the costs.
surrogate is expected to be entitled to undergo no more than three procedures to
insert fertilized eggs in her womb. Heterosexual couples will be able to have up
to two babies by surrogacy, while singles will be able to have one, according to
The cost to the parents will drop, because surrogacy
will become more accessible, German said. It will no longer be the privilege of
the wealthy, and the ministry will regulate and periodically update the
Surrogates may be up to the age of 38 instead of the current
maximum of 36.
For the first time, married and not only unmarried women
are to be allowed to serve as surrogates, on condition that they gave birth to
their own babies beforehand.
The maximum age of the parent is to be
raised to 54 years. If the commissioning couple have one child together not born
through surrogacy, they could get approval for just one child via
As for singles who have no children, they would be eligible to
produce one child by surrogacy.
Two singles could carry out two surrogacy
agreements and get two children.
As for surrogacy carried out abroad, the
committee recommended, and the minister approved, simplification of the
procedures, especially regarding the return of the baby to Israel, through
legislation to be prepared by the Health, Foreign, Interior and Social Welfare
The foreign clinics where the procedure is carried out must
meet ministry standards.
Meretz MK Nitzan Horowitz, who is a declared
homosexual, welcomed the proposals and called on the health minister to advance
them, even without support from the coalition, because coalition members Yisrael
Beytenu or Bayit Hayehudi are “likely to oppose it.
thousands of Israelis don’t have the right to have a family,” he said, because
the rabbinate does not recognize them as Jews or because they are couples of the
German’s declaration, he concluded, “is an important step
but the path to quality is still long.”