Israel to airlift 25 babies from Nepal born to surrogates

2015-04-26 22:19


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Jerusalem - Israel said on Sunday it plans to airlift 25 infants from quake-hit Nepal born to surrogate mothers, along with their Israeli parents, most of them homosexual couples.

Officials said Israel was sending a military delegation to offer aid and help repatriate its citizens from Nepal following the quake that has claimed more than 2 500 lives.

The foreign ministry said there were 600-700 Israelis in Nepal, as well as the 25 babies recently born in Kathmandu - four of them prematurely - to surrogate mothers from India.

Nepal has become a destination for couples seeking to have children through surrogate mothers, though the practice is controversial, with critics saying it exploits the poverty of women.

Priority for repatriation would be given to the infants and their Israeli families, interior ministry spokesperson Sabine Hadad said, adding they would be "the first on the plane".

Foreign ministry spokesperson Paul Hirschson said officials were doing "everything to bring the babies to Israel", while stressing the timing of their return was subject to health considerations and legal issues.

Three of the babies were to be flown to Israel, along with eight family members, on Sunday.

Under Israeli law, only heterosexual couples can legally have children through surrogate mothers, meaning homosexual couples and single people often seek help overseas, said Roy Youldous of Tammuz, an Israeli firm offering surrogacy services.

Although couples from Israel are able to use US surrogacy agencies, they have often preferred to look east because it is much cheaper than western alternatives.

Until recently, Thailand was also a popular destination, but in February Bangkok banned foreign couples from using Thai surrogates after a series of high-profile scandals.

Fifteen of the babies, four of them premature, were born to surrogate mothers working for Tammuz, Youldous said, adding that he hoped the infants would be "brought to Israel without delay".

There were currently 52 Israeli parents, future-parents and various friends or relatives with them that were affiliated with Tammuz in Nepal.

Besides the 15 babies, another 80 women working with Tammuz - all of them Indian - were pregnant, said Youldous.

"We also expect the surrogate women would be cared for," he added.

Critical situation 

Interior Minister Gilad Erdan pledged to help all the babies to reach Israel, where they would undergo DNA testing to confirm their parentage.

Such a procedure would normally take place in Nepal.

Israeli Tamar Rotem said her sister Noa Roth - whose baby girl was born prematurely via an Indian surrogate three days ago - was among the Israelis waiting to be airlifted.

She said Roth and her baby had spent the night in a makeshift tent outside the Kathmandu hospital.

"We don't know if there are doctors there... We don't know how the premature babies are being fed. We're very worried," she told AFP.

"We're talking about babies for whom every hour and minute is critical to their life and development. They're in a life-endangering situation."

Two Israeli aid planes were to leave for Nepal on Sunday carrying 95 tons of humanitarian aid and a team of 260 people to help with the rescue efforts, among them 122 doctors, nurses and paramedics, the army said.

They will set up a field hospital capable of treating 200 people per day.

Read more on:    israel  |  nepal  |  nepal earthquake  |  earthquakes  |  gay rights

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


6 myths about male cancer

It is important to be aware of the most prevalent cancer diseases amongst men in our country.


You won't want to miss...

Who are the highest paid models of 2017?
10 gorgeous plus-sized models who aren't Ashley Graham
5 top leg exercises for men
10 best dressed men of 2017
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.