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Options for gay Israeli couples limited. (Archive)
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Gay couples discover surrogate option
New alternative for homosexual couples in Israel who desire children – surrogacy in US or India brokered by agencies specializing in single-sex planned parenthood
Four years ago, after they had been together for six happy years, Dror and Gil Zitat-Mandelbaum decided it was time to expand their family. As a homosexual couple they knew their options in Israel were limited. They could either try their luck with adoption agencies abroad or, if they found it important to have a biological child, contact a woman who would agree to be artificially inseminated by one of them, also abroad.

 

Each option came with its own specific problems, but they had no alternative. Unlike lesbian couples, who can start a family with a simple sperm donation, male couples are not blessed with the luxury of a womb.

 

"We tried to adopt for many years and through many agencies," Dror recounted. "We paid a lot of money but it didn't work out. We didn't know we had the option of a surrogate mother." Today Dror and Gil are fathers to a pair of 10-month old twins, given birth to by a surrogate mom.

 

The surrogate law in Israel, dubbed "the law of accords for the carriage of fetuses", states that in order to be eligible for a surrogate agreement, the parents must be "a man and woman defined as a couple" which, of course, does not include gay couples. The idea of contacting a surrogate abroad is relatively new and applies only to the US, where prices range from 100 to 150 thousand dollars, and India, where the standard price is about $30,000.

 

Matter of choice

Ran Paul-Dayan, an Israeli living in the US with his partner, Greg, told Gil and Dror about this option. "They were the first couple who came to me with this problem," he said. "I told them about Circle Surrogacy, an American agency that provides surrogacy for gay couples and single people.

 

"A year ago 85% of the couples seeking the agency's help were local, but today over 40% are Israeli," said Paul-Dayan, who is currently the agency's Israeli contact and advisor. According to him, nine Israeli couples are currently "pregnant", nine others have recently signed on, and 20 more couples are currently being approved.

 

"The process undergone by a couple interested in surrogacy is very complex," Zitat-Mandelbaum explained. "There are a lot of legal documents, hundreds of checks, a lot of medical issues and a ton of bureaucracy. The process also includes two women – the egg donor and the surrogate. We contacted the agency and they took care of everything."

 

He added that both the mothers and the egg donors could be chosen by the parents-to-be according to extensive profiles, including pictures, sent to them via email. The couple can also choose to visit the mother during the pregnancy. Gil and Dror were so impressed with the process that they are currently planning a second surrogate pregnancy. However when asked whether they were hoping for twins again Gil answered, "No. Once was enough."

 

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