Ora Mor Yosef, a quadriplegic Israeli woman, had a surrogate child through a niece. However, Israeli authorities have since ruled against her parenting the child and have put the child in foster care for over two years, according to NPR.
While she was in her thirties, she asked her traditional Jewish family if they approved of her parenting alone despite her complications; to her surprise, they were completely supportive. Since she has progressive muscular dystrophy, she could not become pregnant herself, so instead, a niece agreed to be her surrogate.
Of course, there were countless road blocks to her path to parenthood: The Israeli denied surrogacy and a potential male parenting partner. It wasn’t until her forties that she and her niece were able to move forward with the procedure: They received a donor egg from South Africa and turned to India as a surrogacy location, which has been a popular choice for many Israeli parents seeking surrogacy.
So, where was the catch? Often times, a local woman carries the child, gives birth in that same country (in this case, India) and only until Israel approves can the parents bring the child home. This isn’t exactly what happened in Mor Yosef’s case, as her Israeli niece was the surrogate, who also went back to Israel to give birth.
Mor Yosef’s lawyer stated she made two mistakes: The first being that they gave birth to the child in Israel, the second being that Mor Yosef alerted Israeli authorities that she was the parent, not her niece. According to Israeli law, women who give birth are considered the legal mothers.
Unfortunately, what followed was not the happy ending Mor Yosef wanted: her child was declared to be in danger and was sent to foster care. A seven-judge panel stated the case is, “a crossroad between advanced technology, individual disability, the universal yearning for parenthood and the evolution of the Israeli law.”
A glimmer of hope, however, may be in sight. Since the child is eligible for adoption, her sister is now applying to adopt the baby. While this may not be ideal for Mor Yosef, despite the fact that she has caregivers and a supportive family, it would allow her to be an active participant in her child’s life.