Israel finally scraps LGBT+ surrogacy ban in ‘historic step’ for equality

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  • Nitzan Horowitz
    Israeli journalist and politician

Israel will allow surrogacy for same-sex couples, single men and trans people from next week after a decade-long legal battle.

Health minister Nitzan Horowitz announced on Tuesday (4 January) that new rules making surrogacy accessible to all families will come into effect on 11 January.

Currently, surrogacy in Israel is only legal for heterosexual, married couples and single women who ask a surrogate to carry their biological child. Same-sex couples and single men must currently go abroad if they wish to access surrogacy, making the process even more complex and expensive.

In July 2021, the Supreme Court of Israel ruled that denying surrogacy rights to same-sex couples was unlawful, and that the ban must be lifted.

According to the Times of Israel, while announcing the lifting of the ban, Horowitz said: “Today we put an end to injustice and discrimination. Everyone has the right to parenthood.”

Horowitz, who is Israel’s second openly gay minister, said that the new surrogacy rules would include trans parents, and that they would enable “future fathers, gay couples and essentially every person in Israel equal access to surrogacy in Israel”.

“This is an exciting day for me, as a gay minister who is well aware of the exclusion and discrimination against us over the years,” he added. “It’s my personal struggle too.”

The 2021 court ruling on surrogacy came more than a decade after a petition was first filed at Israel’s top court in 2010 by gay couple Etai Pinkas Arad and Yoav Arad Pinkas.

Arad and Pinkas said in a statement that the announcement marked “a historic day”, and a “day of joy for Israeli society in general and in particular for the LGBT+ community, also due to the inclusion of the trans community in the amendment to the law”.

The Aguda – the Association for LGBTQ Equality in Israel said in a statement on social media: “After years of struggle – in the streets, in the courts, in the Knesset and in the government, we have succeeded and this is the achievement of us all.

“The right to be a parent is a basic right for every person and today we are taking a historic step in the struggle for equality.

“Along with the joy, we know that even today our struggle is still far from over. The road is still long and begins first of all with the most vulnerable populations in the LGBT+ community, and we are here to continue to fight for the rights of us all, everywhere.”

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