JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s Cabinet advanced a bill that would allow same-sex couples to use surrogate mothers in Israel.
Government ministers from the Likud, Yesh Atid and Hatnua parties voted for the legislation on Sunday; the Jewish Home party voted against.
The bill places limits on surrogate mothers, including allowing no more than three surrogate pregnancies per woman and raising the maximum age for a surrogate mother to 38. The prospective parents must be 54 or younger, and the bill allows for services for up to two children.
The measure, which had been approved in March by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation, was held up on an appeal by Construction and Housing Minister Uri Ariel of Jewish Home.
The bill will now go before the full Knesset, where it must pass three readings.
Under the current law, only heterosexual couples can arrange to have a surrogate mother in Israel. Other couples and singles go abroad — many to India and Thailand — to have children through surrogacy.
Earlier this year, Israeli couples, including many of the same sex, had difficulty in bringing babies born to surrogate mothers in Thailand back to Israel.
Israel has a shortage of women willing to be surrogate mothers.