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Indian Girl Adoption: Israeli NGO Seeks Tougher Surrogacy Laws

More regulation in this market is good news for surrogacy handled abroad. The Business Standard reports:

Shocked at the news of a convicted Israeli pedophile gaining custody of a four-year-old Indian girl through an agreement with a surrogate mother in India, an NGO here is pushing for more stringent norms on surrogacy to prevent such instances.

“We are trying to make changes in the legislation and the court is already mulling such a request. There is no screening process for surrogacy in Israel. We are demanding that the process be made similar to adoption to prevent such horror stories,” Elizabeth Levy, Director for International Relations at Israel National Council for the Child (NCC), an NGO for children’s rights, told PTI.

The NCC brought the story of the four-year-old Indian girl to light after it was tipped off about the man’s past through an anonymous email a couple of months ago, and while doing its own due diligence informed the police, local social services, the justice ministry and the girl’s school which was apparently unaware of the father’s prior convictions.

The man legally adopted the child through an agreement with the surrogate Indian mother and under current legislation, the Israeli authorities do not have the power to remove the girl away from him.

According to an independent probe conducted by NCC, the man served 15 months in jail for sexually abusing five young children while they were under his supervision, some repeatedly, and is recognized as a pedophile by the authorities.

Meanwhile, it has not been possible to know if the little girl has undergone any harassment or psychological trauma, but she is being observed by social services while continuing to stay with the ‘father’ under existing Israeli laws.

“The welfare authorities have placed the man under supervision and ordered him to seek psychological treatment,” Levy said.

Foreign surrogacies have recently surged in Israel as potential parents, particularly homosexual couples who under Israeli law are barred from using surrogates in the country, have been willing to travel abroad and pay more in order to circumvent the protracted procedures in their home country.

“In the past six years, 200 children have come to Israel via foreign surrogacy,” the NCC official said.

“This case is a good wake-up call that there are changes that have to be made,” she stressed.

In contrast to the rigorous interviews and background checks required of new parents undergoing surrogacy and adoption in Israel, parents of adopted children from surrogates abroad are subjected to more lenient screenings.

Meanwhile, the Israeli health ministry, in response to a letter from NCC Executive Director Yitzhak Kadman to Health Minister Yael German, said that it was considering new policies to secure the protection of children born in overseas surrogacies.


One comment for “Indian Girl Adoption: Israeli NGO Seeks Tougher Surrogacy Laws”

  • Jon

    This article is problematic in many, many ways. I wouldn’t even know where to being. At the core, this is a civil situation involving the social welfare apparatus and legal system in Israel, which I feel is quite capable of looking out for the interests of the child in question. I get the feeling Ms. Levy might be a funadmentalist Israeli activist, who is against creating families that do not fit her strict, traditional definition. The man in question is the genetic father of this child, born in India. The Indian government and the surrogate abandon all responsibilities for surrogate children at the point of birth (which is the case with any country that offers commercial surrogacy), at which time the child assumes the citizenship of the commissioning parent(s). To imply that, years down the road, the gestational surrogate and also the country where the surrogacy was commissioned have legal and moral obligations for the welfare of the child is silly. How can anyone take something like this seriously. If a surro baby born in the US – just to give some context – is moved to live in Europe and assumes EU citizenship – does that mean the US govt and and the US surrogate still have custodial rights over the child, even though the child never has any intention of returning to the US. We shouldn’t ignore the realities of international laws and contracts because of political or social agendas. I’ve also seen one version of this story where Ms Levy claims the Israeli govt has no idea where the baby came from in India. That’s crazy. Of course the Israeli government knows; how the heck does she think citizenship was conferred? Does she think Israeli citizens just show up at consulates in India with babies in their hands and no documentation and the consular officers wave a magic wand and give the babies Israeli passports? Don’t get me wrong; I’m not in favor of convicted pedophiles – if that is true here – having custody of children but that accusation has not been proven here, nor has it been proven that this child has been abused in any way. We should not judge so quickly and instead defer to the legal and social welfare apparatus of the state of Israel in this situation.

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