Court: Surrogate twins' mother needn't adopt

In precedent-setting ruling, judge rules mother can undergo DNA testing to determine her maternity.

Twin babies sleeping 390 (R) (photo credit: Reuters/Arnd Wiegmann)
Twin babies sleeping 390 (R)
(photo credit: Reuters/Arnd Wiegmann)
The biological mother of twins born in a surrogacy procedure does not have to formally adopt her babies, the Tel Aviv District Family Court decided in a precedent-setting ruling published Wednesday.
The twin babies were born last month to Jewish Israeli parents following a surrogacy procedure carried out in Tbilisi, Georgia. The case came to court after the Interior Ministry opposed the couple’s request for an injunction formally naming them as the parents.
The parents said they had decided to use the surrogacy procedure after attempts to conceive naturally failed. The twins were born following an in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedure, in which an embryo was created using the father’s sperm and the mother’s eggs and successfully implanted into a surrogate mother’s uterus.
After the births, the couple requested to be listed as parents on the babies’ birth certificates, so that the children could be entered into the Population Registry and issued passports to bring them to Israel.
The Interior Ministry objected, saying that only the father was allowed to undergo paternity testing to determine his relationship to the babies, but that the mother would have to apply for adoption.
The ministry argued that Israeli law provides three ways to achieve parental status: biological parenthood, adoption or receiving a court order following a surrogacy process carried out under the Surrogacy Law.
Israeli law does not apply to surrogacy procedures carried out abroad, the ministry said.
Further, the ministry argued that Israeli law provides that in cases of egg donation, only the birth mother is considered the mother of a baby, not the egg donor.
The parents said there was “no justification for seeking to impose a bizarre procedure” whereby only the father could be registered as the babies’ biological parent, and argued that the Interior Ministry was violating both their and the twins’ basic rights under Israeli and international law.
Judge Shifra Glick noted that Israeli law has yet to include regulations regarding surrogacy procedures carried out abroad, but until the law is amended it should not act to the detriment of Israeli couples who undertake such procedures.
The judge ruled that both parents will undergo DNA testing in Israel to determine their parental relationship with the twins.