Nepal is one of only a few countries worldwide allowing surrogacy services to gay couples, but only via foreign, not Nepalese, surrogates.
Recently, Thailand, India and Nepal changed surrogacy laws after a series of incidents in which surrogates or surrogate-born children were neglected and exploited.
And unlike lesbians in Israel, who can get pregnant with the help of a sperm bank, gay men are left with few options to start a family.
Such laws mean everything to new parents like Yossi Filiba, a single father who was in Kathmandu with his three-week-old daughter, Naama, when the earthquake hit.
While Israel has prided itself on being a gay-friendly nation, with Tel Aviv considered one of the top “gay capitals” in the world, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Israelis say there’s still a long road ahead.
With marriage closely guarded by religious institutions in Israel, gay marriage is not allowed (although gay marriages conducted outside Israel are recognized by the state) and neither is the use of surrogates in Israel for gay couples.
Hiring an Indian surrogate through an agency in Nepal usually costs between ,000 and ,000, according to Israelis familiar with the process. Alternatively, some gay couples or single gay men in Israel choose to team up with a lesbian or a straight woman who is then legally the mother of their children.
But for some aspiring parents, the idea of co-parenting with another person outside the relationship is not ideal. “The Nepal tragedy adds to the many aspects of this story,” explained Etai Pinkas Arad, a Tel Aviv City Council member and LGBT rights activist.“I tried to keep my tears bottled up,” Elani said, explaining how their surrogate showed them her round belly with their twins inside.