Israel opening surrogacy to same-sex couples

Israel on Tuesday said it will allow same-sex couples, transgender people and single men to have children through surrogacy, upholding the country's Supreme Court ruling to end a ban on the practice, Reuters reported

"It is a historic day for the LGBTQ struggle in Israel," Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz, who is openly gay, said at a news conference, per the newswire.

Horowitz announced that the Health Ministry had issued a circular granting equal access for all citizens to surrogate pregnancy.

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Israel's LGBTQ community had been demanding change in the law for years to be allowed to pursue surrogacy, Reuters added.

In July last year, the court ruled that the surrogacy ban for same-sex couples and single men had to be lifted within six months, Reuters reported. Surrogacy was already available to heterosexual couples and single women.

According to The Associated Press, the court had ruled in 2020 that the country's surrogacy law "disproportionately harmed the right to equality and the right to parenthood" and was unlawful.

The Ministry said the law will come into effect on Jan. 11, the AP reported. 

"A week from today, we will also give equal access to surrogacy in Israel to single men, future fathers, as well as [male] homosexual couples — actually, to any individual. Today we are issuing the director general’s new circular, which enshrines the High Court ruling and revises the procedures in the law," Horowitz said, according to Israel-based newspaper Haaretz.

"I am happy to update that transgender people will also be able to access the surrogacy process in Israel," he added.

Last year, Israel loosened its restrictions for blood donations from gay and bisexual men, issuing new screening guidelines that use gender-neutral wording.