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Israel to end surrogacy ban for same-sex couples

The ruling comes from the country's High Court of Justice after the government was unable to make a new law.

2021-07-12

Words: Alastair James; pictures: Wiki

Israel is to end its surrogate ban against same-sex couples within the next six month, the country's High Court has ruled.

The ruling also applies to single men.

The ruling from the High Court of Justice came late on Sunday (11 July) and states that denying a surrogate to same-sex couples is unlawful and must be lifted.

Currently, same-sex couples in Israel aren’t able to use a surrogate. A petition to change this was first launched in 2010, 11 years ago.

“My heart is bursting with excitement”

Speaking to the Haaretz newspaper following the announcement, aspiring parent Oshri Buzaglo, 32, said: “My heart is bursting with excitement”.

Continuing, he said: “It’s still a dream, but today we’ve gotten a little closer to it”. 

He told the newspaper that he’d been calling agencies across Israel, wary of the waiting lists: “I told them that if they’re starting to take names, put us first.”

Nitzan Horowitz (Photo: Wiki)

The decision was also welcomed by the country’s health minister Nitzan Horowitz, who is the first openly gay person in the position. Posting on Twitter, he said: “Finally, equality! Getz states that gay couples and singles can bring children to surrogacy - in Israel.

“When I entered the office, it was clear to me that we had to put an end to dragging our feet and I informed the High Court that the petition was right and that we were prepared for a binding verdict.”

Etai Pinkas Arad and Yoav Arad Pinkas brought the case to Israel’s top court in 2010. In February 2020 it was ruled that excluding same-sex couples was illegal and the Israeli parliament was given till September to create a new law.

Israel’s new coalition government then asked the court to rule on it resulting in yesterday’s announcement.

"I’m convinced that the state will pile up bureaucratic difficulties"

While the announcement has been rightly celebrated by many, there are some who are less optimistic.

Also speaking to Haaretz, 32-year-old Yaniv Levy said: “I’m convinced that the state will pile up bureaucratic difficulties and will make us have conversations with social workers and psychologists just to get a license to be parents.”

He explains to the newspaper part of his scepticism comes from being set up trying to find surrogates in South Africa previously and that he is now trying to find a surrogate in the United States.

It’s also news that hasn’t been welcomed by more religious and orthodox parts of the population.

Aryeh Deri, the head of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, called it “a grave blow to the state’s Jewish identity,” and Bezalel Smotrich, the head of the far-right Religious Zionism, claimed the ruling “legitimizes the trafficking of women for the goal of surrogacy”, as quoted by The Times of Israel.

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