Same-sex couples will be able to become parents through surrogate birth in Israel instead of being forced to find proxy mothers outside of the country, Health Minister Yael German announced Wednesday.
German is promoting a bill that will amend the current surrogacy law to be submitted on January 15.
The cost of surrogacy service in Israel is between NIS 200,000-250,000. Outside of Israel, the process is more expensive, and naturally, lengthier as well.
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German announced the revolutionary change Wednesday afternoon in a press conference, along with the change that all couples will undergo only one screening process to receive approval for a surrogate birth, instead of two, as was done in the past.
Two years ago, the Mor Yosef Committee submitted its conclusions on fertility in Israel. The committee said same-sex couples could use surrogate mothers, but only if it was done altruistically, or if the surrogate mother agreed to give birth to the child without receiving pay.
The committee's statement itself represented a minor revolution, because for the first time same-sex couples had their rights recognized in the world of surrogacy, though they were still being treated differently compared to heterosexual couples.
When German assumed the position of health minister she announced that the committee's conclusions were unacceptable, and that she will seek complete equality between heterosexual and same-sex couples.
Shortage in surrogate mothers
Mina Yulzari and Ada Atias, founders of the Parenthood Center, said the decision is brave and ground-breaking, but at the same time filled with fundemental errors.
"Given the fact that there are so many restrictions for women to become surrogate mothers today, the decision will bring with it a shortage in surrogate mothers and a rise in the price for surrogacy in percentage by the hundreds," they said.
The two said that having accompanied hundreds of couples through the surrogacy process, they saw firsthand how many people were prevented from having their dream of becoming a parent come true.
"So that when the reform goes into effect, the demand for surrogate mothers will rise significantly, and at the same time, the supply of women who can become surrogate mothers will dramatically drop," they said. "This needs to be solved before it's too late."
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