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Israeli Court Makes Way for Same-Sex Couples to Access Surrogacy

Israeli Court Makes Way for Same-Sex Couples to Access Surrogacy

Israel Pride

Same-sex couples and single men will be able to access surrogacy services in the country in six months. 

Israel's Supreme Court opened up the path for same-sex couples to work with surrogate mothers to have children in what Israeli politicians and activists say is a win for the country's LGBTQ+ community.

In 2018, the country expanded surrogacy access to single women. In 2020, the court ruled that expansion, which excluded single men and same-sex couple was unlawful. The high court found the policy "disproportionately harmed the right to equality and the right to parenthood," according to the Associated Press. It then gave the Israeli government one year to pass a new law. However, parliament never did.

On Sunday, the country's Supreme Court said, "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."

Now, the change in the law will take place in six months by court order. The time will allow the drafting of professional guidelines, according to AP.

The gay couple who went to court against the surrogacy law back in 2010, Etai and Yoav Pinkas Arad, said in a statement that the court's decision "is a big step for equality not just for LGBTQ in Israel, but for equality in Israel in general."

Israel's health minister, Nitzan Horowitz, who is gay, posted on Twitter in favor of the court's ruling, writing that the "discrimination against same-sex couples and single fathers has come to an end."

Before Sunday's announcement, some same-sex couples looking to become parents had gone abroad to find a surrogate -- often spending a significant amount of money more than if they could have accessed a surrogate in Israel.

LGBTQ+ rights activist Oz Parvin, leader of the Association of Israeli Gay Fathers, called the court's ruling "amazing." He told the Agence France Presse that he and his partner had engaged in surrogacy in India to have twin daughters almost a decade ago.

With couples now able to go through the surrogacy process in Israel, he said it made more sense.

"It's a lot easier and more sane," Parvin said.

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