Surrogacy in Israel

New Family helps families have biological children through surrogacy. Surrogacy is an arrangement in which a woman conceives and delivers an infant for an individual or couple who become the legal parents and raise the child as their own. Surrogacy enables infertile heterosexual couples and homosexual men to have biological children. In Israel, only gestational surrogacy, in which the surrogate carriesa child that is not genetically related to her, and not traditional surrogacy, is legal. A gestational surrogate severs her legal ties to the child and is not considered the legal mother, and the intended parents become the child’s only legal guardians.

The surrogacy process in Israel is strictly regulated. Only infertile heterosexual couples can use a surrogate mother in Israel. Surrogates must be unmarried women, meaning single, widowed, or divorced, who already have a child of their own. The embryo can be created through the intended mother’s egg and intended father’s sperm using IVF. If the intended mother’s ova are not viable, an embryo can be created from a donated egg and the intended father’s sperm. It is then transferred to the gestational surrogate, who gestates the fetus and delivers the baby. The surrogate cannot be biologically related to either designated parent.  The designated parents and the surrogate mother must all share the same religion so that the child’s religious status is clear. The mother has to prove that she is infertile or that pregnancy would meaningfully impair her health.  Surrogacy is not legal in Israel for convenience or career considerations.

In 2014, domestic surrogacy may undergo radical changes, opening surrogacy to singles and same-sex couples, raising the maximum ages of all parties, and allowing married women to act as surrogates,  if the reforms proposed by the Mor Yosef Committee and endorsed by Health Minister Yael German become law. These reforms are the result of New Family’s legal actions and advocacy over a decade.

New Family has been Israel’s most vigorous challenger of discrimination in surrogacy rights against single woman and men and same-sex couples. In 2002, Irit Rosenblum litigated the case of a single, infertile woman over age 40. Prior to a hysterectomy, she froze her eggs for future use. Irit Rosenblum applied on behalf of this and other women for permission to utilize a surrogate mother to bear children, but permission was refused because the law does not permit unmarried women to use surrogacy services. Irit Rosenblum appealed to the High Court of Justice, arguing that single women have the same right to bear children as married couples. The High Court of Justice rejected the appeal, but recommended that legislative changes be made to permit single women to utilize surrogates. Following the High Court’s decision and recommendation, New Family drafted a legislative amendment to allow single men and women to use surrogacy services. Irit Rosenblum’s High Court appeal was chosen as one of the 10 most instrumental appeals of 2003 to be heard by the judicial system in Israel. In 2004, a High Court of Justice committee was formed to examine the expansion of the Surrogate Law for single people, lesbians and gay couples.  New Family continued to advocate for expansion of domestic surrogacy for singles and gays, and today, these breakthroughs are coming to fruition in the proposed reforms.

New Family’s attorneys provide expert legal consultation on surrogacy and write surrogacy agreements together with the intended parents. New Family advises and accompanies singles and couples of all genders and sexual orientations through the entire legal process of surrogacy. Agreements are prepared following consultations, during which the individuals learn about all the potential issues affecting their agreement. Call 972 3 566 0504 to schedule a consultation at the Family Rights Center in Tel Aviv. Legal consultation is provided 40 hours a week, Sunday-Thursday, from 9 a.m-5 p.m.