In March 1996, the Israeli government legalized gestational surrogacy under the “Embryo Carrying Agreements Law.” This law made Israel the first country in the world to implement a form of state-controlled surrogacy in which each and every contract must be approved directly by the state. A state-appointed committee permits surrogacy arrangements to be filed only by Israeli citizens who share the same religion. The numerous restrictions on surrogacy under Israeli law have prompted some intended parents to turn to surrogates outside of the country. Since 2014, same-sex couples can enter a surrogacy arrangement or agreement within Israel.
Israel may be considered the first country, in which surrogacy arrangements became legal. However, there is the whole panel of experts, who point out that it is especially necessary and of great importance to provide strict guidelines and supervision at every stage of surrogacy agreement. Still for not it is only up to the parliament of the country (by the way, it is called “Knesset”) to make the final decision, concerning any surrogacy agreement.
For now any kind of surrogacy contract is considered to be outlawed in Israel. However, ministers of justice as well as ministers of health have already pointed out that they do not mind the legislation of surrogacy agreements in general, but because of its complexity, the issue of surrogacy is to be scrutinized in the most careful way by country legislators.
In accordance with the Jewish law, having children is considered to be one of the most important religious obligations. Thus, in Israel, where the population of Jewish is less than five million, having children is truly considered to be practically as a national imperative. There are more than twenty departments, which specialize in the In Vitro Fertilization technique in this country. Moreover, nearly every health insurer may offer a woman free In Vitro Fertilization procedure for the first as well as for the second children. Unmarried women may undergo this kind of procedure along with those, who have husbands.
Anyway, the number of Israel women, who have commissioned babies from surrogate mothers from the USA recently is not known. However, even if the regulations of the health ministry allow the transportation of a fetus, which is produced in Israel, abroad for the implantation to take place, surrogacy agreements are considered to be forbidden. This is why more and more infertile couples, keep attempting petitions to different courts of Israel against the present state law in vain.
All the committee of expert members, which is headed by a retired district court judge, and which also consists of a sociologist, psychologist, chairman of a gynaecology department, a philosopher, the head of the state adoption service, a gynaecologist and a medical ethicist, who is at the same time an Orthodox rabbi, are opposed of the surrogacy agreements encouraging. However they all do understand that mere ignoring reality would finally result into chaos. The majority considered that the existing interdisciplinary committee of experts is to supervise all In Vitro Fertilization as well as all surrogacy procedures. Moreover, all foreigners should be and forbidden either to order or to carry babies, thus, they will not be able to take part in surrogacy arrangements. The surrogate mother would receive compensation for all medical costs, as well as for her time, sufferings, and loss of her income during the whole pregnancy term (if there is any). However, there are no other points, for which any kind of compensation will be given to a woman, who agrees to become a surrogate mother. The infertile couple of intended parents would be considered the real baby’s parents, and they will not have to adopt the infant, who arrives in the result of a surrogacy agreement. Moreover, there will be no legal connection between a surrogate mother and the baby she delivered for an infertile couple. However, in case if the surrogate mother decides to break the agreement while being pregnant, she may do it and intended parents will not be able to force her to give up the baby.
Some Israel citizens consider that permitting surrogacy agreements may influence the society in a negative way, however, in case if the state takes the decision to allow surrogacy contracts, the detailed register of all babies, born in the result of surrogacy agreement along with their surrogate mothers and intended parents is to be provided in order any religious problem would be eliminated. In addition, most rabbinical arbiters insist on the necessity of all babies’ adoption by their intended parents, though it will most likely be formal, regarding the surrogate mother to be the real mother, rather than the woman, who provides her eggs.