Two women with a child 390.
(photo credit: Thinkstock)
Two women, who were both intrinsically involved in bringing a child into the
world, were recognized on Sunday as the child’s biological mothers by the Ramat
Gan Family Court, it was announced on Monday.
The couple, who now will
not need to go through a long and complicated legal process to both register as
the child’s mothers, received approval from the Health Ministry in 2006 for the
egg of one woman to be removed, fertilized with donor sperm and placed into the
However, while the second woman, or surrogate mother, who
gave birth to the child was recognized by the Interior Ministry as the official
mother, her partner – who has a genetic link to the child – was told that she
would have to legally adopt the baby to also be recognized as an additional
The couple refused to go through the adoption process and three
years ago petitioned the court, arguing that if the donor mother had been a man
and had filed a paternity suit under similar circumstances, his claim as the
child’s biological parent would most likely have been accepted. The two women
claimed the fact that their request was turned down due to discrimination on
Judge Alice Miller, who handed down the ruling on Sunday,
wrote, “I think recognizing the donor mother as the mother of this child is a positive and
essential step; it is also a way to solve a case that has special
“Recognizing the genetic mother as a legal additional
mother is also consistent with certain halachic [Jewish law] options,” she
added, highlighting that allowing the donor mother to exercise her rights as a
parent was a humanitarian and natural decision.
Na’ama Tzoref-Halevy, the
couple’s lawyer who is an expert on fertility law, welcomed the ruling but
warned that it was “a lonely victory.”
She explained that even though her
clients were delighted by the ruling and the fact that the barrier to creating
their own family had now been removed – due to a recent law aimed at protecting
the rights of surrogate mothers – the Health Ministry no longer considers
same-sex female couples for such surrogacy arrangements.
called the ministry’s interpretation of this law as “improper” and called on it
to “stop discrimination against same-sex partners and apply the law equally as
it does in cases of heterosexual couples.”
She said that there was a wide
gap in Israel between advanced fertility technology and the laws that governed
Attorney Irit Rosenblum, the executive director of New
Family, an organization that champions the rights of Israelis to establish
marriages and families outside of the traditional system, told The Jerusalem
on Monday that she has already challenged the Health Ministry’s policy of
denying such surrogacy arrangements for lesbian couples.
She said that it
was all down to the definition of surrogacy, and that within the context of a
same-sex couple who want to share a connection to their child, interpretation of
the law in this way is not appropriate.
“The state should advance and
bless any same-sex couple that finds a way to be involved genetically or
practically in giving birth,” Rosenblum said.
“All efforts that enable
both women to be equal parents are for the best of the child,” she
A spokesperson for the Health Ministry responded by saying that the egg donors law was designed to help women who had medical problems conceiving. Currently, that law does not allow for egg donation to women that do not have medical problems.