The Ramat Gan Family Court has ruled in favor of a lesbian couple,
recognizing both women as their child's mothers on Sunday, setting a legal precedent.
The couple received permission from the Health Ministry in 2006 to undergo a medical procedure, in which one of the women's egg was extracted, fertilized with donated sperm and implanted in the second woman's womb. But when their son was born, the Health Ministry allowed only the woman who gave birth to register as the boy's mom, requiring her partner to undergo an adoption process.
The couple refused to begin the adoption proceedings, instead launching a legal battle to prove the egg provider's maternity. The women asserted that if the donor was a man who claimed paternity under the same circumstances, his claim would be granted. They posited that the rejection of the claim would constitute gender discrimination.
Granting the couple's motion, the judge in the case wrote: "This solution will allow the donating mother to fulfill her parental right – a basic right that is considered a natural right, one that derives from our humanity."
The judge asserted that legally recognizing the egg donor as the mother is favorable to an adoption, due to the fact that the former grants the child more rights.
"Looking at the child's welfare, this is a pragmatic and just solution," she wrote.
The judge ruled that the genetic mother would be officially recognized once a social worker makes sure that the measure is indeed favorable to the child, borrowing a clause from the surrogacy laws.
Attorney Naama Tzoref Halevy, who represented the couple, said that the ruling came as a welcome surprise, adding that there is still much to be done to close the gap between developing fertilization technology and lacking legislation on the matter.
The lawyer said that there are five similar cases in the country, four of which might be affected by the precedent-setting ruling. The fifth couple has agreed to launch the adoption proceedings.
According to Tzoref Halevy, the two women were overjoyed by the ruling and expressed hope that it would pave the way to the annulment of the cumbersome adoption requirement. The two said that their 5-year-old son, who was aware of the story of his conception, "had trouble understanding what the commotion was about but is looking forward to seeing his name on the family's second identification card."
It appears, however, that the precedent might not have the anticipated impact due to the fact that the Health Ministry has outlawed the transfer of eggs from one woman to another in 2011.