Israel Evacuates Surrogate Babies From Nepal but Leaves the Mothers Behind
An Israeli Boeing-747 returned from Nepal to Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport on Tuesday afternoon, and among its 229 passengers were 15 Israeli babies, all born within the past six weeks to surrogate mothers in Nepal.
Some of the babies were with their Israeli parents and others were cared for by Israeli passengers. None of the surrogate mothers were allowed to travel.
The infants’ arrival completed the evacuation of 26 surrogate Israeli babies from Nepal, where a devastating earthquake on Saturday killed more than 4,000…
The first Israeli baby was born to a surrogate mother in Nepal in January 2014, and it is now the destination of choice for Israelis who do not have access to surrogacy in Israel. Many Asian and European countries ban commercial surrogacy, and it can cost up to $150,000 in the U.S. and Canada but only $30,000 in Nepal.
But while the Israeli government scrambled to evacuate the 26 Israeli newborns and their Israeli parents from Nepal, a further 100 women, some Nepalese, some Indian, are still carrying babies for Israelis. The Israeli Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein said he would allow the most heavily pregnant to be flown to Israel to give birth and outgoing Interior Minister Gilad Erdan promised to remove immigration hurdles for the rest. “We have decided to hold off on all the procedures, even if it causes a problem with the Nepalese or Indian governments, so as to bring over the babies as soon as possible,” Israeli news sources quoted him as saying on Monday.
An opinion piece in the Haaretz newspaper went one step further, accusing the Israeli public of showing selective empathy by focusing only on the newborn infants, and not the women who had carried them.
“How can it be that none of the human interest stories or compassion-filled posts mentioned these women, who came from a difficult socioeconomic background … to rent their wombs … who now, like the babies they’ve just had, are also stuck in the disaster zone?” writer Alon-Lee Green asked.