Paperwork prevents fathers, babies returning to Israel from Mexico

Three men and their newborns from surrogate mothers unable to leave because governments won’t issue birth certifiicates

Illustrative image of newborn baby (Getty Images)
Illustrative image of newborn baby (Getty Images)

Three single men who had babies in Mexico through surrogate mothers were unable to return to Israel because the Mexican Interior Ministry refused to issue birth certificates, Channel 2 reported Thursday.

“Two and a half months ago there was a case of bribery in the local government,” one of the fathers, Shaul Shiri, told Channel 2. “Since then they have stopped issuing any birth certificates.”

The fathers blamed Israeli officials for not helping them sufficiently.

“It is a real mess.” said Shiri, “The embassy asked us not to involve lawyers or the media and said they would resolve the situation. It took a while, but eventually they managed to help one couple with twins.”

But he said that the Mexican government is not willing to do it any more after the details leaked “and so we can’t leave.”

The Foreign Ministry responded that the State of Israel has helped and will continue to help the men through the appropriate diplomatic channels.

Israel’s first surrogacy law came onto the books in 1996, and it has not been amended since then. Only heterosexual couples are legally able to use surrogacy in Israel, and there are many restrictions on who can serve as a surrogate.

While straight couples must go through an onerous committee process in order to qualify for surrogacy, homosexual couples are left completely out of the system. Consequently, they must look to foreign surrogacy.

According to Victoria Gelfand, a Tel Aviv attorney who specializes in foreign surrogacy, there are few countries in which gay couples can pursue the surrogacy option. Currently, only the United States, Nepal and Mexico are options. India used to be a possibility, but it recently decided to stop issuing visas to homosexual couples. As a result, many have turned to neighboring Nepal, although Nepal was also reconsidering allowing foreigners to have surrogate babies in the country.

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