A couple with their twin babies delivered by a surrogate mother. [Illustrative].
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Single women will soon be entitled to state support for having children through a surrogate mother, but gay couples will not, under the terms of legislation soon to be passed into law.
The surrogacy bill was approved in the Knesset’s Labor, Welfare and Health Committee on Monday for its second and third readings by an 8-4 vote, in a hearing that became noticeably emotional during comments made by two gay MKs, Amir Ohana of Likud and committee member Itzik Shmuli of the Zionist Union.
Until now, state-supported surrogacy has only been available for married heterosexual couples; the new law will expand the eligibility to single women as well.
The amended law also regulated other aspects of surrogacy, limiting a woman who needs a surrogate mother to have children for her to two surrogacy births, and requiring the surrogate to be between 22 and 39 years old.
A proposed amendment to the legislation by Ohana to make gay couples eligible for surrogacy was defeated.
The Likud MK told the committee about his experience in establishing a family through surrogacy, having to go abroad to do so and the difficulties this created.
“When I and my partner wanted to establish a family, we were forced to go to a country thousands of miles away. The twins were born before full term and we could not be there. We turned the world upside down in order to find a Jew who didn’t even know me, who lived close by, to be there so someone would be there by their side,” related Ohana.
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“I am not inciting against the rabbinate or against the religious – I’m just asking for a little humanity,” he said.
Shmuli described the lacking he felt without children, and objected to the restrictions preventing gay couples getting support for surrogacy in Israel.
“I want to be a father but I cannot be a father. In order to do this, I need to ask [about doing it in] a foreign country, pay $140,000 and hope everything will be ok. My life is full, but there is always this element which is lacking, which is with my everywhere I am,” said the MK.
“We are good enough to serve the state, but not good enough to be parents; it is an insult which I can’t describe. It is simply a discriminatory situation, and hurtful and insulting and not decent.”
However, Bayit Yehudi MK Moti Yogev, another committee member, argued forcefully against making gay couples eligible for surrogacy.
Speaking on Kan’s Reshet Bet radio program Monday morning, Yogev declared that “a natural family is a mother and a father and children – this is the history of humanity,” insisting that a child needs both a mother and father.
“A child searches for belonging to his mother, and in this [homosexual] kind of surrogacy he doesn’t know who his mother is… Who gave us permission to bring children [into the world] into a deficient situation,” he questioned.
“The position of Judaism, the Torah of the Jewish people – the position of the ethical world – is that the basic family of mother, father and children is the past, present and future.”
The law will now go back to the Knesset for its final readings and likely be passed into law.
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