Israeli Cabinet Backs Bill Allowing Surrogacy for Same Sex Couples

Elad and his partner live in Israel with their one-month old daughter.  Both men served in the military and are as active as any other member of their community.  Their daughter was conceived using a surrogate in India.  Why?  Because same-sex couples and unmarried people are not allowed to use surrogacy in Israel.  However, a law which received the approval of the Israeli cabinet on Sunday, June 1 is aimed at changing this policy.  This new law extends the ability to use a surrogate in Israel to all couples, not just heterosexual couples.

The bill had been going through months of debate in the cabinet, but tensions on the bill were eased and the cabinet was finally able to vote.  While the bill does extend the rights to use surrogacy to singles and same-sex couples, it also imposes a few restrictions on both Surrogates and Intended Parents.  Surrogates are limited to three surrogate pregnancies and they can be no older than 38 (actually raising the maximum age).  Intended Parents must be no older than 54 and are only allowed to conceive two children through surrogacy.  Currently many LGBT couples have to go abroad (like Elad and his partner) in order to use a surrogate.  Most go to India or Thailand. The ability to use a surrogate in Israel will mean they no longer have to deal with all of the red tape of immigration and they will be able to bring a new member into their family.

Those who oppose the law argue that it merely “pays lip service” to the LGBT community in Israel.  Irit Rosenblum, founder of the “New Family” NGO in Israel states that the law will lead to couples dealing with committees and much more red tape in order to conceive a child.  He believes that it will just lead to fewer, not more, surrogacy arrangements.  Even so, members of the LGBT community are hopeful that the law will pass the Knesset, where it must pass three readings.   Supporters of the bill in Israel are optimistic, with Israeli Health Minister Yael German stating, “It feels like the ova are thawed and now we can create the baby and deliver it in the Knesset (Israeli Parliament).”  Elad and his partner are looking forward to the opportunity to add another child to their family and to be able to do that in Israel.

Parent One, Parent Two to replace references to mother, father on passport forms

In a decision that follows the end of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, the State Department has decided to make U.S. passport application forms “gender neutral” by removing references to mother and father.

Likely hoping to diffuse some of the attention this decision was sure to garner, the announcement was buried at the end of a December 22 news release, titled “Consular Report of Birth Abroad Certificate Improvements,” that highlighted unrelated security changes.

Fred Sainz, vice president of the Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights advocacy group, called the news “a positive step for all American families.  It was time that the federal government acknowledged the reality that hundreds of thousands of kids in this country are being raised by same-sexx parents.”

Click here for the full article on

Sir Elton John Welcomes a Baby Boy via Surrogacy

Sir Elton John and his partner, David Furnish welcomed their son Zachary Jackson Levon Furnish-John on December 25, 2010.  The birth of their child is significant for multiple reasons in the social acceptance and understanding of surrogacy, adoption and family formation.

Attempting Adoption from Ukraine

Last fall, the couple visited an orphanage in the Ukraine and planned to adopt a 14-month-old boy named Lev and his HIV-positive brother Artyom.  After visiting the orphanage, John told reporters that “Having seen Lev today, I would love to adopt him.  I don’t know how we can do that but he has stolen my heart.  And he has stolen David’s heart and it would be wonderful if we can have a home [together]”. 

Although the public has seen many celebrities adopt babies from all over the world, seemingly with ease and sans red tape, celebrities, just like everyone else, are bound by the laws in various countries and must abide by strict regulations. 

After John announced his desire to adopt Lev and Artyom, Youth and Sports Minister Yuriy Pavlenko said that the adoption could not happen because adoptive parents must be married and because John is too old. 

The singer is 62 and Ukranian law requires a parent to be no more than 45 years older than an adopted child.  In 2005, John and Furnish formalized their relationship in one of the first legalized civil unions in Britain, but Pavlenko said Ukraine does not recognize gay unions as marriage.

Gay Rights in Ukraine

After John and Furnish were denied the ability to adopt Lev and Artyom from Ukraine, Svyatoslav Sheremet, head of Ukraine’s Gay Forum, a leading gay rights organization in Ukriane, said the regulations were depriving the boy of a chance to find a family and love. 

Overall, Ukraine is a conservative, mainly Orthodox Christian, country.  Households headed by same-sex couples in Ukraine are not eligible for the same legal protections available to opposite-sex couples. 

In a December 2007 survey by Angus Reid Global Monitor, 81.3% of Ukrainians polled said that homosexual relations were “never acceptable”, 13% answered “sometimes acceptable” and 5.7% “acceptable”. 


Despite reported heartbreak from their failed attempt at adoption in Ukraine, John and Furnish welcomed a baby boy via a surrogate this week into their family.  Their son, named Zachary Jackson Levon Furnish-John, was born on Christmas day, and weighed 7 pounds and 15 ounces. 

Although John and Furnish will not provide any details about their surrogacy arrangement and intend to protect and respect the privacy of the surrogate mother, their quest for a family has engaged the media and helped educate the public about adoption, surrogacy, gay rights and family formation.