The Israeli Parliament (The Knesset) approved an amendment to the Israeli Law on Surrogacy today, but kept a portion that stipulates same-sex couples are not be eligible for surrogacy services provided by the Israeli healthcare system.
Knesset Member Amir Ohana, who is openly gay, and is raising two children who were born through surrogacy in the USA, attended the conference to speak out.
“I’m attending this gathering, despite not being a member of the committee,” Ohana said at the beginning of the conference. “The wrong law enacted in 1996 must change, but this is not the change we’ve been praying for.”
“When me and my partner sought to raise a family, we had to travel thousands of kilometers to another country. The twins were born ahead of the expected time, and we could not be there with them. I had to go through hell and back to find a Jewish person, who did not know me, but lived nearby, so he could be with my children. I do not seek to defy nor protest against the Rabbinate, or religion – for that matter, I am merely asking for small display of humanity”.
Another gay Knesset Member, Itzik Shmuli of the Zionist Union party, said, “I want to become a father, but I cannot. To do this, I must travel far away to a foreign country, pay roughly $140,000, and then hope for the best.”
“My life is mostly full and complete, but there’s always this feeling of a piece of me that’s missing, that accompanies me everywhere I go. Apparently, we are good enough to serve our country, but not quite good enough to become parents. This is an insult beyond words. This situation is just utterly discriminatory, hurtful, insulting, and unjust”.
Until now, surrogacy services in Israel were provided only to heterosexual couples who cannot have children due to medical issues. The new amendment will expand the eligibility to single women as well. However, the service will remain unavailable to gay couples.
The amendment is currently being passed for voting in the parliament, where it will most likely be approved due to the obligation of coalition members to support the law.
(Article published in conjunction with our Israeli news gathering partner, WDG.)