Reports that 25 surrogate babies from Nepal have been airlifted to same-sex Israeli couples in the wake of Saturday’s devastating 7.8 earthquake have sparked a new conversation about the practice of international surrogacy.
Israel currently does not allow same-sex couples or single parents to pay for surrogacy in the country, though an initial measure was passed last fall to make it legal. It has not been put up for a vote.
So Israeli gay couples look elsewhere with hopes of starting a family, and Nepal has become a popular location, with companies specifically set up to connect couples with Nepalese surrogates.
Many European countries have outlawed this practice, with critics claiming it exploits poor countries.
One company, Tel Aviv’s Tammuz Surrogacy International, says it has been in direct contact with all of its 52 clients, and that some pregnant women will be allowed entry into Israel to give birth in safer conditions.
The fate of many, however, remains unclear. On Sunday, some 240 soldiers and officers took off from Israel to Kathmandu to assist search and rescue efforts.