US semiconductor giant Nvidia announced plans on Wednesday to begin fully financing costs for surrogacy proceedings and adoption processes for each of its 2,500 employees regardless of gender, sexual orientation, or marital status. These include employees of Israel’s Mellanox Technologies, a leading supplier of communications infrastructure for data servers and storage systems, acquired by Nvidia in 2020 for $7 billion.
Though the benefit would apply to everyone, the announcement is especially significant for members of the LGBTQ community and comes amid Pride Month, marked in June to celebrate such communities across the world.
Nvidia said in a statement that it will “fully and without limitation” fund eligible costs for surrogacy and adoption for all of its employees.
“There will be no employee here who wants to be a parent and gives up on the dream for a financial reason,” said Adv. Gideon Rosenberg, head of the human resources department at Nvidia Israel. “The right to parenthood is a basic one and we are happy to announce this process especially now, on Pride Month,” he added, calling on more companies in Israel to take similar steps.
The move comes after the Knesset in 2018 voted to ease surrogacy regulations, granting state support for pregnancy via surrogacy to heterosexual couples and single women, but not men, which effectively prevents male homosexual couples from having a child via a surrogate.
Israel’s surrogacy law was first passed in 1996, with strict regulations, to allow heterosexual couples to conceive a child through surrogacy. The country only allowed gestational surrogacy, where the woman carrying the pregnancy is not biologically related to the child, and not traditional surrogacy. Gay couples and single men in Israel have been forced to look abroad for a surrogate, a process that is very expensive.
The 2018 amendment sparked widespread protest in the LGBTQ community and a response from many companies in Israel’s tech ecosystem, including Mellanox which at the time announced that it would grant NIS 60,000 (roughly $18,450) and a month of parental leave for employees wishing to use a surrogate to have a child.
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Rosenberg tells NoCamels via a text messaging exchange that the new Nvidia benefit was “effective immediately” and would not require an employee to be working at the company to be working for a minimum period of time to be eligible. He adds that at the moment, the company does not have an estimate of how many employees will use the benefit.
Nvidia currently employs 2,500 people in Israel across seven development centers in Yokneam, Tel Aviv, Ra’anana, Jerusalem, Beersheba, Kiryat Gat, and Tel Hai, and recently announced plans to expand and recruit 600 new software and hardware engineers for a variety of positions. Nvidia’s development operations in Israel are the largest outside the United States.
“Nvidia believes that every person should have the right to become a parent and that the cost associated with this should not prevent our employees from achieving this dream,” Rosenberg tells NoCamels, noting that the benefit is offered in the US for American employees and it is now expanding to Israel.
Among Nvidia’s employees in the region are also Palestinian engineers and other professionals who now work directly with the semiconductor giant, having previously worked as external contractors with Mellanox. In October, Nvidia indicated that it would directly employ more than 100 Palestinian engineers from the West Bank, a move welcomed and driven by Mellanox co-founder Eyal Waldman (he has since left the company) who hailed the announcement as a “historic moment and an unprecedented achievement.”
Rosenberg says Nvidia hopes to expand the benefir “to other countries in the future.”