Surrogacy in Israel and alternatives

The issue of surrogacy has become a topic of argument and debate in Israel for many years. Earlier this month, surrogacy appeared in the headlines twice.

Surrogacy in Israel

For the first time, there were about six former deputies launched a crowdfunding campaign after the New Life agency filed a defamation lawsuit against them (an embedding order was imposed in the lawsuit).

For the second time, Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz announced that surrogacy in Israel would be extended to men, despite their relationship status.

These two events represent a contradiction between the original purpose of the Surrogacy Act and the new version. The amendment, which seeks to equalize the law on inequality, provides for this discrimination, especially for women whose interests are governed by the original law.

The six accused alternates received sufficient evidence that “the person who paid the pepper called the melody” and that the commercial nature of the practice no longer requires them to take part in the conversation, also because of their right to freedom of expression.

Currently, the change affects infertile women (whether in a relationship or not) who have to compete with many men and have many costs to obtain appropriate compensation.

Some countries completely ban commercial surrogacy, while others do not intervene and consider it a private matter between the two parties. Israel, on the other hand, is trying to get it in two ways and is only allowing commercial surrogacy.

However, each procedure must be approved in advance by a commission appointed by the state as the Pregnancy Agreements Committee. In addition, the state regulates all contractual arrangements, from the detailed approval of the contracting parties, through the arrangements of the contract between them, to the method of registration of the newborn by the Ministry of the Interior.

The only aspect that is not included in the status is the amount of the payment.

This last problem makes sense to avoid when the law was first passed in the 1990s. In the past, surrogacy had to be a unique solution for dozens of couples, with certain health problems preventing women from becoming pregnant or continuing to conceive.

Lawmakers have chosen not to engage in payments to limit the more commercial aspect of the practice. In addition, lawmakers believe that careful selection of married couples and alternates can, in addition to contract management, guarantee fair practices and prevent exploitation.

Over the years, surrogacy has become popular in Israel and abroad as the experience of motherhood and fatherhood has changed dramatically. The Surrogacy Act, originally considered progressive and innovative, has become a symbol of discrimination against men.

The argument for extending the right to surrogacy in Israel is often also costly because surrogacy is expensive. Meanwhile, the public interest has shifted from a moral and ethical one (aimed at protecting the rights of surrogates and toddlers) to a consumer problem.

The high cost of living abroad is presented as a fundamental element of discrimination against same-sex couples. One of the reasons why the Mor Yosef Commission, which revised surrogacy, recommended not giving same-sex surrogacy to same-sex families in 2012, is that it upsets the weak balance between high demand and low supply.

Surrogacy makes it difficult for the original target group to exercise their surrogacy rights. As a result, many Israelis, either voluntarily or for lack of choice, opt for a more expensive alternative, surrogacy abroad.

The state then provides funds to regulate the status of children born abroad. Despite all this, politicians continue to reject the commercial aspect of this practice. As a result of this avoidance, the state continued to allow brokerage agencies, thus filling the void.

These agencies act as half public prosecutors, and half experts. Although not supervised, they actively participate in discussions on the subject in Knesset commissions, downplaying the commercial aspects of their involvement in Israeli and foreign practice.

In addition to mediation between designated parents and the mother who gave birth, the agencies also serve as informal supervision of surrogates after childbirth abroad.

They also act as farm representatives, assisting authorization committees in gathering information and feedback. Cooperation between the bodies affiliated with the Ministry of Health and for-profit companies shows that the law is a product of the capitalist system.

The correction of men’s discrimination announced this month must be combated by the correction of economic discrimination (which harms women). To do this, the state must regulate real estate agencies, including training, licensing, and management.

In addition, former MEP Yael German’s proposal to uphold equality by setting a fair and equitable surrogacy price in Israel needs to be reconsidered.


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