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Surrogacy in Israel: Why Intended Parents Seek Solutions Abroad?

According to the law, surrogacy is considered a fertility treatment due to strict medical criteria for heterosexual couples or single women living in Israel. In both cases, there must be a genetic connection with at least one of the parents (in the case of a couple with the presumed father, only in the case of a single woman, it is not possible to use the donor oocyte).

Surrogate motherhood should be conducted voluntarily, meaning a surrogate mother should not receive money as remuneration for her services. However, she is entitled to total compensation to cover the time spent on the surrogacy pregnancy, all medical expenses, maternity wardrobe costs, and lost income during participating in the program. The amount of money that she may receive under the surrogacy agreement signed with the intended parents must be previously confirmed by a particular State Committee.

 

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How Much Does Surrogacy Cost in Israel?

Israeli medicine is known not only thanks to its high quality but also due to its high cost. This also applies to surrogacy services. The reproductive health procedure at the Israel clinic will cost intended parents around NIS 250,000, which is up to EUR 70,000. And that doesn’t include the associated expenses. There are several reasons why prospective parents seek solutions abroad.

The first reason is to find affordable alternatives to expensive health services without losing the quality of performance. For instance, Ukraine provides such an opportunity. Thus, the international surrogacy agency World Center of Baby offers all-inclusive packages that cover assistance, matching of surrogate moms, and its own clinic, which combined makes the entire surrogacy process easy. All of the fees are included in the final price with no hidden costs.

Another reason why Israelis seek alternative reproductive programs abroad is the very type of surrogacy permitted in Israel. Surrogacy on a voluntary basis is called traditional. In comparison, commercial surrogacy implies compensating surrogate mother services. This approach is considered more reliable from the further settlement of legal issues concerning parental rights over the child. In commercial surrogacy, each party’s roles and rights are clearly defined and respected so that intended parents will not face unpleasant surprises after childbirth.

 

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Who Is a Surrogate Mother in Israel?

Regarding the surrogate mother, there is no requirement for her residence status in Israel, but there is one for her religion. A surrogate mother must have the same religion (Judaism) as an intended mother to not create sectarian conflicts after childbirth. According to Judaism, the child receives one’s religion from the mother who gave birth to the baby.

It is recommended that a surrogate mother be single, have conceived and gave birth to at least one healthy child of her own, and be between 22 and 39 years of age. Nor shall she be a relative of the intended parents and have a total of no more than four births and no more than two fetuses per pregnancy. Besides, a surrogate mother can participate in the program only twice, hence deliver only two surrogate babies.

 

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Gay Surrogacy in Israel: What Are the Same-Sex Couples’ Options?

Israel is considered one of the most LGBT-friendly countries with one of the highest percentage of same-sex parents. However, the right to surrogate motherhood for gay couples is relatively recent since the Supreme Court has reviewed the bill prohibiting them from using these services.

In July 2018, the Knesset passed a law that allows single women to use surrogate motherhood services. However, the deputies did not support the idea of expanding the access to surrogacy to same-sex couples. Since then, thousands of protests have been held in several cities across the country, opposing the blocking of single men and gay couples from using surrogacy to have children. In August 2018, 575 rabbis signed a letter demanding that same-sex couples be granted this right.

 

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Conclusion

In Israel, the approval of a special committee composed of social workers, doctors, and religious figures is required to formalize the surrogacy motherhood program. Traditional values, such as building a family and having children, combined with state-of-the-art technologies, make it possible to become parents even in the most severe cases of infertility. However, the high cost of health services (and reproductive medicine in particular) encourages prospective parents to seek alternative solutions abroad.

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