Ovum donation bill moves a step closer to becoming law

Ministerial Committee on Legislation give decade-old law “continuity status."

MK Arye Eldad (National Union), who headed the Knesset subcommittee that drafted the bill regulating human ovum donations, on Monday applauded the Ministerial Committee on Legislation for giving it “continuity status,” which will allow the Knesset to approve it within a few weeks.
Ten years in the making, the bill, if passed, will allow Israeli women not undergoing fertility treatment to donate ova to those who desperately want to be mothers but have no eggs of their own.
For years, the supply of ova has been very sparse, forcing women to go abroad to purchase them. Eldad, a maxillofacial surgeon and professor by training, thanked Deputy Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman for agreeing to raise the request for the bill to be given continuity stratus. It was passed on its first reading in the previous Knesset, but then got bogged down by a member of Litzman’s own party. Without this status, it would have had to be launched from scratch, thus taking even more time until put into effect.
Eldad and MK Rachel Adatto (Kadima), a gynecologist and lawyer by profession, had presented their own private members’ bill with virtually the same wording as that of the government bill that has now received approval from the ministerial committee. The two MKs initiated their legislation after seeing the opposition the state bill met with last year.
“I have no doubt that the government made this decision in part because of the private members’ bill that we wrote,” he said.
Eldad added that he was sure the legal process could be completed quickly.
The law would give financial compensation for time, pain and expenses to Israeli women who donate spare ova to infertile women, but would prohibit the sale of human eggs in the country.
Adatto, who was involved in the proposal a decade ago as a gynecologist, said Monday that the law will be “a boon to couples who had to go abroad for ova” in the hope of becoming parents, and that she was glad to be a partner in the process.
Litzman, a Gur hassid from United Torah Judaism, consulted with various senior rabbis before giving his approval to the government bill. Learning from a number of leading rabbinical arbiters that they – but not others – had changed their mind about who could be considered the mother according to Jewish law if the embryo was produced with an egg from a non-Jewish donor, Litzman realized it was preferable that eggs be donated by Israeli Jewish women.
But Health Ministry legal adviser Mira Huebner said “the law will not make mandatory the conversion of the child who is conceived from the ovum of a non-Jew; the couple will only have to be told that there may be halachic problems in such a case and be asked to consult with their own rabbis.”