A homosexual couple recently filed suit to the High Court, requesting permission to hire a surrogate mother to bear a child for them. The State Prosecutor's Office filed a response Thursday stating that the law regarding surrogacy explicitly allows only opposite-sex couples to use a surrogate.
The law states that the parents-to-be must be “a couple – a man and a woman – who contact a surrogate with the goal of bearing a child.” While the Supreme Court has the power to repeal laws, it cannot alter the text of laws, state attorneys noted.
The suit appears to be practically irrelevant, as the homosexual couple asking to make use of a surrogate mother does not have an ovum, and under Israeli law, would not be granted the use of a donated ovum, attorneys said.
The State did not rule out the possibility of a man in a homosexual relationship becoming a father through surrogacy, but argued that such a change to the law must be made by the Knesset, and not through the courts. The implications of allowing homosexual couples to use surrogate mothers “have various philosophical, ethical, moral, educational and social implications,” attorneys stated, adding, “the most suitable body for addressing these issues is the Knesset."
Israel allows gestational surrogacy only in cases approved by a state committee. Those allowed to use surrogacy are heterosexual couples suffering from infertility in which both partners are Israeli. Surrogates must be single, a rule put in place to avoid the possibility that offspring would face mamzerut (illegitimacy) under Jewish law.