The first baby born to a gay couple via surrogacy in Israel was born on Tuesday, according to a Ynet report.
This baby girl was brought into the world as a result of the law implemented in January 2022 under the supervision of former health minister Nitzan Horowitz and director-general Prof. Nachman Ash, which allowed all citizens of Israel - including single fathers, same-sex couples and transgender people- to engage surrogate mothers in the State of Israel.
Surrogacy is an arrangement in which a surrogate mother bears a child for an individual or a couple unable to have children for various reasons. The woman can either become pregnant through artificial insemination of a man’s sperm (traditional surrogacy), or an embryo produced through in-vitro fertilization is implanted in her uterus, and therefore there is no genetic connection between the fetus and the surrogate mother.
In Israel, only the latter form of surrogacy is allowed. Usually, the surrogate mother agrees to give up all parental rights.
The long road to equality
This law had been years in the making and required intervention from the High Court of Justice to make it through the legal system. The Israeli High Court first put pressure on the government to fix Israel's lopsided surrogacy law, which excluded same-sex couples and single fathers, in February 2020. They gave the Knesset until March 2021 to amend it, which it failed to do.
The Knesset requested an additional nine months, stating that from March 2020 to March 2021, it had been too busy dealing with the coronavirus outbreak to handle the surrogacy issue. The deadline was moved to July 2021, at which point the government asked the High Court to amend the law itself.
After several months of back-and-forth between the High Court, the Knesset and the upper echelons of the Health Ministry, Israel's surrogacy laws were updated officially on January 11, 2022.
The fathers of the first baby to be born under the new law told Ynet: "We have waited for this moment for a long time. There were more than a few bureaucratic hangups along the way. We are grateful to everyone who helped us in the process, most of all the wonderful surrogate mother and her family who we are so lucky to have been able to go on this journey with."
Rossella Tercatin contributed to this report.