Alternative Parenthood

Shared Parenthood Agreement

The choice of becoming parents without being in a relationship or living together as a couple is given to all of us. Today, more and more men and women are establishing ‘untraditional’ families. There are families of single parents, same-sex couples and blended families. In any case, if a child is raised by parents who do not live together or by parents of whom one is not his or her biological mother or father, it is essential to have a shared parenthood agreement in order to prevent conflicts and ensure the shared upbringing without complications.

The openness of society and technological possibilities have made it much easier today to have a child without a partner or to have a child together through artificial insemination without being romantically linked, an option sometimes favored by homosexuals. A woman can turn to a sperm bank to be impregnated with a donor’s sperm or be inseminated with the sperm of a man she knows. A man can adopt children abroad or adopted older children in Israel. Surrogate pregnancy conducted abroad is another option for men without a female partner.

New Family’s Shared Parenthood Agreements

New Family draws up shared parenthood agreements based on the following principles: We believe that parenthood is a basic right and natural urge of every person without connection to his ability or whish to marry. Being a couple is not a trait required for parenthood. At the same time, every child has the right to know his or her parents. Both parents will therefore recognize their children through the agreement and establish a relationship with them. Bringing up children together – even outside a marriage or sexual relationship – requires partnership, mutual respect and good communication. To share the burden of parenthood is important for the child and the parents.

Through the agreement, the parents will share responsibility for the child’s physical, emotional and material needs. The agreement will contain a mutual commitment of the parents to act for the welfare of the child and definitions of their rights and duties. It will also include specifics on the child’s upbringing, education, alimony, a visitation schedule if the parents do not live together, and other requirements.


By law, a man has to pay alimony for his biological children. This rule is not connected to the question if he is or was married to the mother of the child or ever had a relationship with her. Even if a woman deceives a man and becomes pregnant against his explicit wishes, he has duties towards the child. In the same spirit, a man is not entitled to pressure a woman to have an abortion.

Do determine paternity, mother, child and potential father have to take a blood test that can be performed in many hospitals in Israel and costs about 3,000 to 4,000 NIS. A man can refuse such a test on the grounds that it is an invasive exam. That said, a man that is involved in a paternity case and refuses to do a test, will most probably be declared the legal father by the courts anyway, as his refusal is understood as agreement. Instead of a blood test, a saliva exam can also be administered.

A child is not only entitled to the father’s alimony but also to his inheritance. This fact is not influenced by whether or not child and father have a relationship. In cases of inheritance questions, a paternity test can even be performed after the death of the father if the technological possibility exists.

Artificial insemination and fertilization

Health services in Israel provide in-vitro fertilization treatments to married couples for the purpose of giving birth to a first or second child. Common-law partners who wish to have insemination and/or fertility treatments in Israel are asked to sign a consent form in which several topics are discussed. Usually, the partners have to declare that they are not married to anybody else. However, in a precedent achieved by New Family, several fertility treatments have been authorized to couples although the man was still formally married to another woman. Still married women were not allowed to undergo fertility treatments because the resulting children would be considered ‘bastards’ according to Jewish religious law.

Artificial insemination can only be performed in those hospitals that have a sperm bank, which is true of most central hospitals in Israel. Here, the samples are tested for AIDS and Tay-Sachs disease. A woman can be inseminated with her husband’s sperm or that of a donor. However, the process will not be started unless written agreement is obtained from both the woman and her husband.


Surrogacy means implanting a fertilized egg into the womb of woman in order to deliver the baby from the resulting pregnancy to designated parents that want to establish a family. Often, the egg – which might be the surrogate mother’s egg but is usually a donor’s egg – is fertilized with the sperm of the designated father. Surrogacy enables husbands of wives that cannot bear children and homosexual males to have biological children.

Conditions for surrogacy

In Israel, a written agreement between the surrogate mother and the designated parents has to be set up and confirmed by an authorization committee in accordance with the law. The parties to the agreement have to be over 18 years of age and residents of Israel. The sperm has to be that of the designated father and the egg must not be that of the surrogate mother. Furthermore, if the designated parents are Jewish, the surrogate mother also has to be Jewish.

The designated mother and father may not be older than 50 and 60 years respectively, and the mother has to prove that she is infertile or that pregnancy would significantly damage her health. According to law, only a couple consisting of a man and a woman can use the services of a surrogate mother in Israel. Single women or homosexual men have to go abroad for surrogate procedures.

After the birth, the designated parents will submit a request to receive parenthood, and upon the court’s confirmation they will be the child’s sole guardians and his or her parents in every respect.

The surrogate mother can only withdraw from the agreement and keep the child before parenthood was granted to the designated parents, and only if a social worker appointed by the court attests that the circumstances have changed in way that justifies the withdrawal and that the child’s welfare would not be hurt by the withdrawal.


Married couples and – under special circumstances – singles are entitled to adopt in Israel. According to the law, the adoptive parents must have lived in Israel for at least 3 of the 5 years preceding the request to adopt. From the moment adoption is granted by court, the adopting couple becomes the child’s parents in every respect. Court will not grant adoption, however, without a testing period of at least six months during which the child lives with the designated parents.

Singles can only adopt in Israel if the child is the legal child of their partner, or if the parents of the child died and the adoptive parent is an unmarried relative of the child.

To grant the adoption, the court will have to be presented with proof that the biological parents willingly gave up their child for adoption. However, the adoption does not have to be revealed to the child, if he or she believes his adoptive parents are his or her real parent,s and if the child’s welfare is not damaged by keeping the secret.

International adoption

Adoptions abroad can only be carried out with the help of an adoption agency that ensures the child’s safety and basic rights.

Children adopted abroad will be registered in Israel as gentiles unless they are being converted to Judaism through the Rabbinical Court.

To request or to receive money or another material compensation for adopting or giving up for adoption or mediating adoption without legal authorization is punishable by three years in prison.

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