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Same-Sex Couples in Israel Will Soon Have Access to Surrogacy

Harel Barak and his husband Yakir Kanneli pose for a picture with an empty stroller at a park in the Israeli coastal city of Tel Aviv.
JACK GUEZ / AFP via Getty

Beginning next week, access to having children through a surrogate will be extended to include same-sex couples.

For queer couples in Isreal looking to begin a family, surrogacy will finally be a legal option beginning next week.

According to the Israeli health minister, beginning Tuesday, January 11, same-sex couples will be able to have children via a surrogate, following a supreme court decision last year that annulled portions of the country's surrogacy laws preventing it, the Associated Press reports.

Israel's Supreme Court ruled in 2020 that the surrogacy laws, which were expanded to allow access to single mothers but not to same-sex couples, "disproportionately harmed the right to equality and the right to parenthood" and were therefore unlawful. While the changes didn't go into effect immediately, the government gave then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a year to write a new law; however, Israel's legislature, the Knesset, was unable to meet that deadline.

In July 2021, the court stated, "since for more than a year the state has done nothing to advance an appropriate amendment to the law, the court ruled that it cannot abide the continued serious damage to human rights caused by the existing surrogacy arrangement," adding that the new law would take effect in six months to allow for the formation of professional guidelines.

According to Nitzan Horowitz, the Israeli government's out gay health minister, this is a step in the right direction for the nation. "Full equality. That is the simple demand, and it is the goal of the LGBT struggle, the long struggle of my community," he said, adding that the new law would also open access to surrogacy to single men and transgender people.

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