Israel has lifted surrogacy restrictions that prevented same-sex couples and single men from becoming parents via this route.

Announcing the move at a news conference on 4 January, Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz confirmed that a circular had been issued by the ministry which equalises access to surrogacy.

“It is a historic day for the LGBTQ struggle in Israel,” he said.

Surrogacy was previously only available to heterosexual couples and single women, vastly limiting those able to use the means of becoming parents.

“Today, we are putting an end to years of injustice and discrimination,” the Health Minister, who is also openly gay, added. “A week from today, we will also give equal access to surrogacy in Israel to single men, future fathers, as well as [male] homosexual couples – actually to any individual. Today we are issuing the director general’s new circular, which enshrines the High Court ruling and revises the procedures in the law.”

Horowitz also confirmed that transgender people will be able to access surrogacy in the country.

“From now on at the ministry, we will relate to every parent and family in an equal manner,” he stated. “Everyone has the right to be a parent. Transgender individuals will also be able to obtain surrogacy in Israel.”

It follows a Supreme Court ruling in July that banning same-sex couples and single men from access to surrogacy was a violation of their rights and must be altered within six months.

In August, Israel lifted a longstanding ban on blood donations made by gay man.

“There’s no difference between one blood and the other,” Horowitz explained. “Discrimination against gays in donating blood is over.

“When I became minister, I ordered the removal of the degrading and irrelevant questions from the blood donation questionnaire — remnants of a stereotype that belongs to history.”

The move was praised by Israeli LGBTQ+ rights groups, who said it is a key step towards equality in the country.

Gal Wagner Kolasko, head of the Israeli LGBT Medical Associations, thanked the health minister for making the “historical correction.”

He said: “Now there are safe blood doses for all without discrimination or harming human rights. Because discrimination also causes serious damage to health.”