Tel Aviv - Mumbai - Tel Aviv: Same-Sex couples seeking parenthood in India

Lustenberger, Sibylle (2013). Tel Aviv - Mumbai - Tel Aviv: Same-Sex couples seeking parenthood in India (Unpublished). In: Contesting Fertilities, Families, and Sexualities. Social and Historical Perspectives on Assisted Reproductive Technologies. Zürich. 5.-6.09.2013.

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In Israel religious belonging remains a central category of citizenship. Laws concerning reproductive technologies such as the surrogacy law from 1996 are strongly informed by Orthodox rabbis’ kinship concepts (Kahn 2000, Shalev 1998, Weisberg 2005). A set of regulations secures that heterosexual Jewish couples bring into being children who are unequivocally Jewish themselves. The Israeli surrogacy law can therefore be understood as part of a policy seeking to reproduce the boundaries of the Jewish-Israeli collective.
Same-sex couples do not fit this narrow definition of family and have no access to surrogacy in Israel. Yet gay couples maintain that parenthood is a universal civil right and bypass their exclusion through surrogacy arrangements abroad.
The proposed paper follows these couples to Mumbai, which has become a popular destination for surrogacy in recent years. After their children’s birth the couples spend three to five weeks in India. In this time they not only take on their new tasks as fathers. They are also occupied with the bureaucracy of disconnecting the children from India and turning them into Israeli citizens. The paper elaborates on the bureaucratic processes and the hurdles same-sex couples encounter when seeking recognition of their parenthood and citizenship for their children. It unveils the intricacies and ramifications of Israel’s contradicting surrogacy policy of enforcing narrow definitions of family inside the country and simultaneously outsourcing problematic cases.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)


06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Art and Cultural Studies > Institute of Social Anthropology

UniBE Contributor:

Lustenberger, Sibylle


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology


Sibylle Lustenberger

Date Deposited:

23 Apr 2014 14:07

Last Modified:

23 Apr 2014 14:07


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