The Nepal earthquake has shocked with the devastation and suffering inflicted on a long suffering people. Foreigners in Nepal were also affected, but most of them will be able to leave and carry on their lives without the poverty, housing, and health care deficits the Nepalese will be dealing with for years. One sub-group of foreigners were Israelis awaiting the birth of children carried by Nepalese surrogates or the legal papers needed to bring home those infants who had already been born. They have, of course, no moral priority over others hit by the earthquake, but their situation shines yet another light on the complexities of national surrogacy policy and surrogacy tourism.
Nepal has become a major surrogacy destination for Israelis who because they are unmarried or gay cannot obtain surrogacy in Israel. India and Thailand had been the prime choice for surrogates, but those countries two years ago restricted surrogacy to married couples. Indian women already pregnant with children commissioned by unmarried persons then went to Nepal to give birth. With surrogacy available in Nepal for $30,000-$50,000, rather than $150,000 in the United States, Israeli surrogacy agencies started arranging surrogacy births there, even while Indian rather than Nepalese women are usually the carriers. Continue reading