Not only does this ruling serve as an important first step for gender equality when it comes to the legal definition of parenthood, but provides some security for Israeli citizens using gestational carriers and their own genetic embryos:
The Krayot Family Court on Monday recognized the biological mother of a baby born three months ago to a surrogate in Georgia as the child’s legal parent. The ruling was issued over the objection of the state, but because there is no definitive legislation governing surrogacy proceedings for Israelis abroad, the final decision was ultimately up to the courts.
“I cannot even describe my relief,” the mother, who lives in the Haifa Bay area, told Haaretz. “I was not asking for any favors, but the baby was registered a long time ago under my husband’s identity card. And what about me? Am I second class? I’m not a mother?” she said.
While fathers of babies born to surrogates can use DNA tests to prove parenthood, mothers are required to adopt in order to be legally recognized by the courts. Judge Nitzan Silman ruled on Monday that the biological mother should be registered as the baby’s parent based on DNA testing that had already been conducted.
Silman ruled that parenthood should be determined by genetic testing for mothers as well as fathers. Silman rejected the state’s argument that surrogacy is not properly supervised abroad and that therefore the process should not be encouraged. She noted that “the moral question in the very nature of surrogacy is one that legislation must address.”
Silman also said that “people should not be punished when all they want is a child because of unfortunate legislation that has not sufficiently evolved.”