Two planes from earthquake-ravaged Katmandu carrying dozens of babies, expectant mothers, and same-sex Israeli couples blocked from surrogacy at home has landed safely in Israel, according to the Jerusalem Post.
Landing in Tel Aviv, a small jet operated by Israel's national emergency-response agency carried five Nepalese-born babies to their new home, while the larger Israel Air Force Hercules aircraft landed with dozens more babies, surrogate mothers and same-sex couples who had gone to Nepal for surrogacy services.
According to the Jerusalem Post, 26 infants and their Israeli fathers were "trapped without shelter, heat, incubators (in some cases), baby formula or sanitary facilities. Heavily expectant mothers were also left without protection or provisions."
Religiously influenced law in the Jewish state forbids same-sex and non-married straight couples from using surrogacy as a means of starting a family with children. Many nations ban surrogacy altogether.
Once India was the home of Israeli surrogacy abroad. But over time, the Indian government tightened regulations and made it increasingly difficult for foreigners to work with Indian surrogate mothers inside of the country. Now, an Israeli company called Tammuz International Surrogacy frequently sends couples locked out of surrogacy in Israel to Nepal because it claims that country is the safest destination. A spokesman for the Tel Aviv-based firm told Agence Free Presse that a government minister welcomed the returnees home.
An op-ed published by the editorial board of the Jerusalem Post says now is the time for Israel to change its policies preventing same-sex and unmarried couples from using surrogacy at home. USA Today reports that a bill proposing just such a change is progressing through Israel's legislative process.