Photos evacuated by the Israeli authorities happy fathers with newborn babies visited all the local media. The Ministry of internal Affairs is considering the possibility of shipping to Israel from Nepal surrogate mothers, bearing children of Israel.
However, the fate of women who have already fulfilled their mission and the Israelites gave birth to 11 children, behind the scenes.
Surrogacy is a reproductive technology in which a woman (the surrogate mother) carries and gives birth to a child for other parents. The first surrogate mother in history is considered to be a Hagar – the Egyptian maidservant of Sarah, bore Abraham a son Ishmael. However, since then much has changed.
In traditional surrogacy the surrogate mother was also the genetic mother, but in the 90-ies of XX century, with the development of technology of in vitro fertilization (IVF), in most countries, introduced the so-called “full surrogacy”, prohibiting to use the egg of a surrogate mother in order to exclude the possibility of a genetic connection between the surrogate mother and the embryo.
If the expectant mother can not only make, but also to conceive a child, an egg from a female donor are fertilized in-vitro fertilization with the sperm of the genetic father and transferred into the uterus of a surrogate mother.
The surrogacy process is a number of health risks for the surrogate mother associated with the pregnancy process and procedures prior to the pregnancy. Pregnancy with twins (such as when surrogacy happens more often than normal) increases the risk of complications and the likelihood that the woman will have most of the pregnancy to spend on conservation.
The procedure of in vitro fertilization is associated with numerous tests, hormone injections, and often with the acceptance of steroids and antibiotics. Pregnancy, surrogate mothers often ends in a caesarean section, which can lead to complications like any other surgery.
Surrogacy in the world
Unlike the adoption process, governed by international Convention for the protection of children and cooperation in respect of intercountry adoption, there is no clear international agreement governing surrogacy services because different States have different approach to this issue.
In countries such as Finland, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, and also in most Arab countries, surrogacy, both commercial and free, is illegal.
In the UK, Australia, Denmark, Belgium, the Netherlands and many other countries prohibit only commercial surrogacy and advertising of the services of surrogate mothers. In these countries the parents will only reimburse surrogate costs.
In USA surrogacy is not regulated at the state level, and each state has its own laws. So, in Michigan prohibits any form of surrogate motherhood, in new York banned commercial surrogacy, and in such States as California, Illinois, Arkansas and new Hampshire allowed both free and paid surrogacy.
In most developed countries are either not prohibited to use the services of surrogate mothers abroad, or the authorities look at the “import” surrogate children through her fingers.
Surrogacy in Israel
Unlike the vast majority of developed countries, Israel is allowed both free and commercial surrogacy. This is due, in all probability, General attitudes to childbearing in the country. It should be noted that almost nowhere in the world is not customary to make such number of attempts of in vitro fertilization in Israel, including when it comes to families with multiple children.
However, surrogacy in Israel is not available for all populations. According to the Law on contracts for the childbearing from 1996 to the help of surrogacy could be resorted to only heterosexual couples. Such a pair can on their own or through mediation office to find a surrogate mother and signing a contract with it on the GS. The contract is served on the Commission appointed by the Ministry of health. The Committee includes experts in the field of gynecology and obstetrics, psychologist and social worker. The Commission checks the physical and mental condition as a surrogate mother and future parents.
According to edition NEWSru.co.il from the press service of the Ministry of health, in 2014 the Ministry of health has considered 119 requests for permission to resort to surrogacy. 118 of them were satisfied.
According to the report, presented to the Knesset Committee on the rights of women, 80% of surrogate mothers in Israel take this step for financial reasons. The average age of surrogate mothers is 31 years. 70% of women have secondary education. 71% of surrogate mothers were born in Israel, about 20% – in the countries of the former USSR.
If before a surrogate mother in Israel could be the only unmarried woman, 3 years ago the law was changed, and now it can do and married. A potential surrogate mother must undergo a process of birth at least once and not more than three times.
Financial compensation to surrogate mothers in Israel is regulated by law. On the website of the Ministry of health stated that the surrogate mother gets for her services 160 thousand shekels. However, as explained editorial NEWSru.co.in il intermediary company “M”, the whole process of surrogacy in Israel is expectant parents from 220 to 250 thousand shekels, as to 160 thousand which are transferred to the surrogate mother, the added cost of verifying, weekends, additional procedures, etc.
The theme of international surrogacy is traditionally considered to be inextricably linked to the rights of sexual minorities. Indeed, same-sex couples and singles, not being able to hire the services of a surrogate mother in the country, is increasingly doing it abroad.
However, figures show that same-sex Israeli couples who use the services of surrogate mothers abroad, amount to no more than half of the total number of couples traveling to third world countries for newborns.
Editorial NEWSru.co.il was unable to obtain from the Department of registration of population latest data on the number of children born abroad through surrogacy.
According to a report published on the website of the Knesset, from 2005 to 2011 in the Ministry of internal Affairs was 188 cases involving genetic tests required to grant Israeli citizenship to a child born abroad from a surrogate mother. After 2011, based on data published by various brokerage firms, the number of foreign-born children of surrogate mothers each year has increased by hundreds.
Company “M”, which provides mediation services surrogacy for Israelis not only in Israel but also in India and Georgia, our correspondent was told that only one third of the customers who come into the office, use the services of surrogate mothers in Israel. Other couples prefer to do it abroad, because such process is associated with much less cost and much faster.
Note that this office provides services exclusively to heterosexual couples, as in India and Georgia prohibited the provision of this service to gays. This year the services of the company “M” was used by around 70 pairs, including 50 “made” the child abroad.
In India and Georgia, surrogacy costs about 130-140 thousand shekels. In contrast to the situation in Israel, a significant portion of this money goes to the accounts of intermediary firms. As explained to NEWSru.co.il in the Agency “Metro” in Georgia, for example, “this sum to the woman and her family enough for three years of worthy existence, as the son of an engineer”.
Both in Israel and abroad, an egg donor is a woman, most often living in a third country. Company “M.” mostly use the services of donors from Ukraine and the Czech Republic. Donor oocyte is from 25 to 30 thousand shekels.
“We have no choice”
The Deputy of the city Council of tel Aviv of Itai Pinkas and his husband Yoav three daughters born to surrogate mothers abroad. The eldest of the twins five years, they were born in India. The younger girl, she was born in Thailand. Itai Pinkas told our correspondent that for many years fighting for same-sex families to use the services of surrogacy in Israel, but so far this struggle has not brought the fruits. Pinkas said that when she and her husband decided to have children, we carefully checked the conditions in which are a surrogate mother in India and Thailand. According to The Pinkas, Yoav they are still in touch with surrogate mothers their daughters, you know, how they live, and send them pictures of the girls.
“I think the hypocrisy of the claim to people who use the services of surrogate mothers abroad because the same people who call surrogacy is exploitation of women, absolutely easy to use mobile phones and wear shoes that make children in Chinese factories, working 20 hours a day and often aching and dying from overwork,” says Itai Pinkas.
“I have no illusions about the motives of the surrogate mothers of our children, but do not feel them nothing but boundless respect and gratitude. I understand that not all clients of the clinics also are closely watching the fate of surrogate mothers, their children, and would prefer not to look to third world countries. But while in Israel will not change legislation, same-sex families and singles there is no other way to become parents,” explains Itay.
Features of “import” of surrogacy
For many years the majority of same-sex couples had gone to India. When in 2012 in India were forbidden to provide surrogacy services to same-sex couples, for several years the address for the gay, dreaming of children, was Thailand. However, in February 2015 in Thailand, a law was passed prohibiting commercial surrogacy for foreigners.
The reason for the ban began several scandals, including the story of baby Scales. Recall, a couple from Australia used the services of a surrogate mother from Thailand, 21-year-old Pattaramon Canboy that in August 2014 they gave birth to twins – a healthy baby girl and a young boy named Gamma, who were diagnosed with down syndrome, as well as heart failure and pulmonary infection. The couple took away the girl and refused to adopt a sick boy. Previously, they offered to do Pattaramon abortion and destroy one embryo, but she refused on religious reasons. The case drew the attention of the world media, Gamma remained with the surrogate mother, but acquired Australian citizenship to have access to Australian medicine.
Shortly after that, the media was widely discussed another incident: in the headlines often met the phrase “baby factory”. Citizen Japan Mizusaki of Sziget for a short period of time gave birth to 15 children from 11 surrogate mothers. When the Bangkok police, suspecting Sighetu in the slave trade, tried to detain the Japanese, he fled to Macau.
After India and Thailand were closed for same-sex couples, in the world there are few countries where gay and singles can use the services of surrogate mothers. Because in the US a surrogate mother road and cost about 100 thousand dollars, the vast majority of Israeli same-sex couples who failed to have children in India and in Thailand, in the summer of 2014 go in search of a surrogate mother in Nepal.
Editorial NEWSru.co.il asked for advice in a mediation office “,” providing services to same-sex couples and singles who are looking for a surrogate mother abroad. According to the data obtained from the Agency information, the services of surrogate mothers in Nepal cost about 40 thousand dollars. According to the law of Nepal, the surrogate mother may not be a local resident, and most surrogate mothers are an Indian woman, who at the time of the process, along with their families moved to Kathmandu. Over the past year in Nepal were dozens of children born to Israeli couples.
According to representatives of the Israeli intermediary offices, to surrogate mothers abroad are the same or almost the same requirements as in Israel – they must be physically healthy, psychologically prepared and already have children. Representatives of firms interviewed by our editorial staff, they say that their employees and customers check the conditions and life of the surrogate mother, and ensure that women were given proper medical and psychological care.
The problem is that, when it comes to third world countries, commercial surrogacy, like any other commercial activity, may not always be isolated from the realities of this country.
Last year the British newspaper The Guardian published material about the industry of surrogacy in Mexico, where he began a boom in commercial surrogacy after tightening legislations of India and Thailand. The article noted that simultaneously with the appearance of official industry of surrogacy in Mexico began to develop an underground business, where agencies stealing money and eggs, subjecting pregnant women to psychological abuse and deprives them of the fees. In 2014 this has led to the closure of clinics and bankruptcy mediation offices of California, collaborated with Mexican agencies. The activities of these firms attracted the attention of the FBI.
In March 2015 on the American channel HBO released a documentary film “Lines in the Sand & Outsourcing Embryos” (“Lines in the sand and outsourcing of embryos”), dedicated to the including industry of surrogacy in India. HBO correspondent Gianna, Toboni went to India, where he discovered the existence of black market “extra” babies that sells children born to surrogate mothers and hidden from their biological parent which is achieved by the fact that as a result of in vitro fertilization often are born twins or triplets.
One such child the reporter offered to buy directly in the restaurant, where she posed as a client met with the traders. Dialogue in the restaurant was filmed with a hidden camera and later included in the documentary. This passage, in which the journalist reach out over the table baby, offering to take him “on the spot” can be seen on the website of New York Magazinewhere it was published an interview with Gianna, Toboni.
In this case, the journalist notes that prior to this episode she visited several clinics to surrogate mothers, where the women were kept in wonderful conditions and they were given the best medical care.
If we leave out the possible criminalization of surrogacy, in different scales inherent in third world countries, surrogate mothers, even in developed countries are at risk of psychological or physical harm.
In addition, activists of organizations advocating human rights, and representatives of feminist movements, both in Israel and abroad, believe surrogacy is an unacceptable exploitation of the female body and its relegation to the status of incubator, and equate surrogacy to organ trafficking or prostitution. Well-known Israeli feminist Zoe Pushnikova said in an interview with NEWSru.co.il that he considers unacceptable to subject women’s health to danger even in the most good purposes. “I constantly hear that women in third world countries do it for in order to feed the family. However, this is not an occasion for exploitation and harm. For some reason the decision to sell a kidney to feed his family, causing a different reaction of the society,” emphasizes Pushnikova.
Note that in the ranks of the Israeli LGBT community there is a schism when it comes to surrogacy. Despite the fact that the female community leaders speak on social networks strongly against surrogacy – both in Israel and abroad, none of them wanted to comment on this topic to edition NEWSru.co.il, explaining that “delicate” topics for the community of sexual minorities.
Most critics of surrogacy bring as an argument the fact that there’s too many orphans to such an ambiguous way to produce new children. The NEWSru.co.il turned in one of the oldest Israeli NGOs on international adoption, to understand how these arguments are legitimate.
“This is not a store”
The adoption procedure in Israel is regulated by law. The client signs a contract with one of the NGOs involved in international adoption. The maximum amount is also stipulated in the law and amounts to 22 thousand euros. As explained by our editorial staff representative of this NPO, adoption may be possible in Latin America, the former Soviet Union, Asia and Africa, but the Israelis are children from Africa do not adopt. Adoption occurs under the laws of the two countries – the country of the parents and the child’s country. Therefore, the adoption of a single man or same-sex couple is currently almost impossible.
“Despite the fact that formally you will not find a law that would infringe upon the rights of single men compared to single women rights, in practice a single woman can adopt a child, but a lonely man is not,” explains the interlocutor of the edition NEWSru.co.il.
The Israelis resort to international adoption, because in Israel in the queue for adoption are up to 4.5 years. In addition, there is the issue of age. Clients generally claim to be children under the age of three, and the children given up for adoption in Israel, usually over the age of four.
The international adoption procedure takes from a year to a year and a half. Most children take the Israelites from Russia. So, during the existence of one of the oldest NGOs in Israel by adoption number of children adopted in Russia amounted to over 1100 children. The parents simple – the difference in age between the child and the foster parent may not exceed 48 years and parents should be tested by a psychologist and a social worker before they can get a permit and begin the adoption process.
Despite the huge number of orphans in the countries of the former USSR, the demand for adoption exceeds the offer in tens times. The majority of Russian orphans “neosynephrine” either for legal reasons or for medical. And if seriously ill Russian children were often adopted by Americans, but now it became impossible.
“This is not a store,” emphasizes our interlocutor. The child’s sex, age, skin color and other things depend on when it comes to the customer. And adoption is available only heterosexual couples and single women.
Basic right of each individual is not available to all
Editorial NEWSru.co.il was asked to comment on ethical aspects of surrogate motherhood to the Chairman of the ethics Committee the Israeli medical Association Dr. Tami Karni. Dr. Carney stressed that the topic of surrogate motherhood is one of the most controversial topics from the point of view of medical ethics. “On the one hand, the desire to produce offspring is a basic right of every person. With another – it is impossible not to take into account the autonomy of the female body, the free will of the surrogate mother and other related factors,” emphasizes Dr. Carney.
Carney explains that, if in Israel there is a clear law regulating surrogacy, and the surrogacy process, surrogate mothers in third world countries are often exploited and are in unsuitable conditions. Carney refers to the data received in the framework of the Commission on international fertility led by Dr. Carmel Shalev, who at the end of this month due to complete its work and submit its findings to the public.
The Dr. Shalev is now in Austria, where the conference on surrogate motherhood. At the conference representatives of countries of Eastern Europe will discuss issues of regulation of this industry.
In January 2015 in Jerusalem hosted a conference by UNESCO Biotechnics, medical ethics and medical law, in which they also discussed legal and ethical aspects of surrogacy and the need to create international institutions that govern this process.
However, the findings of the Commission Carmel Shalev, as the findings of other similar commissions in different countries are purely Advisory in nature.
As for Indian women, issuing and delivering in Nepal young Israelis, some of them, according to the Israeli intermediary, have already returned home. Together with other families while stay in Kathmandu destroyed, unable to leave. To the knowledge of the interlocutor to our editorial staff, none of these women suffered in the earthquake. However, it is hardly possible to claim that someone has full information about it.