Hello Roy! It’s a great honor to host you here.
Tell our readers a little about yourself so they can get to know you better.
Thank you very much, it’s great to be here. My name is Roy Rosenblatt Nir, I’ve been CEO of Tammuz since 2015. I live in Tel Aviv, am married to Ronen, and I’m a father to Saar (12) and Rotem (11).
When did you first become acquainted with Tammuz?
Friends of ours went through the surrogacy process in India with Tammuz, and they told us about the process and the entire experience. The idea of starting a family was something we had already been talking about – so we were interested and decided to find out more. We met with Doron Mamet-Magad – who founded Tammuz in 2008.
We met at Doron’s home in Tel Aviv. He told us about the process and explained all the stages, and of course we met his children, as Doron had also started a family through surrogacy. We were excited and decided that this was what we wanted to do – to embark on a surrogacy journey and start a family. This is how we became Tammuz clients.
So the surrogacy is also familiar to you on a personal level.
Tell us about the surrogacy process you went through.
We chose to undergo the surrogacy process in India as this was the option which was most straightforward at the time (rules around surrogacy change in different countries quite often, so the most appropriate place to go through the surrogacy process will depend on factors at the moment a journey starts). We opted for a parallel surrogacy journey, with two surrogates carrying our two children at approximately the same time. The egg donor was the same for both children, but some of the eggs were fertilized with my sperm, and some with Ronen’s sperm. In essence, embryos were implanted in the uterus of each surrogate, and the children were born just 5 months apart. In 2011, our two children were born. Saar was born in July 2011, and Rotem was born in December 2011.
During the pregnancy, we were quite anxious – the surrogates were in India, and at the time we lived a long distance away in Brazil. In addition, back then, even though it’s not so long ago, surrogacy was less common so we didn’t have many friends or contacts who had been through the process to talk through our worries with. We had so many questions during the pregnancy! Everything from what is happening now, what is the next test, is the surrogate taking care of herself properly, is she eating and drinking healthily – questions that every parent deals with. It’s not an easy period, although it helps to talk to people who’ve been through similar processes – whether at Tammuz or with friends. And the fact that I went through this process helps me to understand parents who are in the process now.
I remember waiting impatiently for the next test, for the next ultrasound and from test to test we breathed a sigh of relief when everything was normal. There were also more worrying moments – for example in the second pregnancy in one of the tests there was a deviation from the norm. We consulted with doctors and friends and to our joy in the end everything was fine, but the anxiety levels were high. As we got closer to the birth date, we could breathe more easily. Then one night, we were woken up in the middle of the night and told that the surrogate was on her way to the delivery room and we quickly flew to India – it was an exciting moment!
Please describe us the moment when your children were born.
How did you feel at that moment?
Overwhelming excitement and happiness blended with a sigh of relief that everything had gone as it should. And quite a lot of trepidation! Of course, as new parents, we had concerns about how to care for the tiny baby placed in our hands – it’s a huge responsibility and a life changing moment. There were tears and a lot of emotion. Recalling those moments now, I still get emotional with tears in my eyes. Fortunately, this amazing moment happened twice, with Saar and with Rotem, and each time, the emotion was just as intense. Unfortunately, it seems we won’t be having more children. If it were up to me, I would be happy to, but Ronen, my partner, is less interested, and age plays a role as well. Recently, the family did get a little bigger, as, after many requests from Saar and Rotem, we brought a dog into the family. Luna has been with us for a few weeks only but is already part of the family. So, while this chapter is closed, I would always return to that magical moment if given the chance.
You worked as an Israeli diplomat in Brazil for over 6 years. Tell us about that experience.
Before working at Tammuz, I served as a diplomat, spending ten years in the Israeli Foreign Service after completing my training at the cadet course. I spent six of those years in Brazil as the Economic Consul of Israel in Sao Paulo. It was different from what I do today, but incredibly interesting and challenging, and it’s a great feeling knowing you’re contributing to your country. My work involved helping Israeli companies to operate in Brazil and strengthening economic ties. For example, we worked for years on a trade agreement between Israel and Brazil and neighboring countries, which brought significant economic benefits to both sides.
Later on, I focused on promoting trade with Brazil, assisting Israeli companies looking to enter the Brazilian market, maintaining connections with the Brazilian government on economic issues, and a range of other diplomatic matters. It was a job I loved and enjoyed, and it fulfilled a dream I always had of being a diplomat. Beyond the professional challenges of the job itself, there were also challenges related to being away from family and friends, especially living in a distant country such as Brazil.
Overall, it was an incredible experience. I lived in a new place, learned about a new culture, made some great friends, and learnt Portuguese and Spanish, which I still speak fluently today. I’m very content with where I am now; I fulfilled my role as a diplomat in its time and have no regrets about the fascinating period I spent in that job.
How did you start working at Tammuz?
I began working at Tammuz a few years later. When I was working as a diplomat in Brazil, I realized there was a lot of interest in surrogacy there. I approached Doron and proposed “expanding” Tammuz to Brazil, providing the same services there as Tammuz does in Israel. Doron liked the idea and agreed, and “Tammuz Brazil” was born, becoming the first international branch of Tammuz outside of Israel. Essentially, I set up Tammuz Brazil and managed it for a year. When we saw that everything was working well, after a year, Doron suggested that I take over the reins and become the CEO. From 2015, I have been the CEO of Tammuz.
Tell us about working at the Tammuz.
Do you feel satisfied with your work?
Working at Tammuz is a mission – it’s much more than a job. And I know many of my Tammuz colleagues feel the same. It’s an emotional, fulfilling and inspiring job although it can also be stressful and tiring! Being part of the journeys that led to the birth of over 1,500 children, which changed the lives of so many families is something that fills me with a great sense of accomplishment. Every day I go to work with a sense of purpose. It’s not always easy. There are moments of immense joy and happiness, and there are challenging times. This journey is filled with ups and downs, with joyful news and less joyful news. I have to embrace this entire story.
However, there’s no doubt that I both start and finish the day with a sense of satisfaction and the feeling that there is true meaning to my role. Even on difficult days, it’s easy to find motivation by reminding myself of the mission I’m on and the difference Tammuz is making to so many families around the world.
You are responsible for expanding Tammuz to over 15 countries!
Wow! How does it feel to manage such a big team spread around the world?
It’s an incredible feeling and a fantastic mission. One of the things we’ve done in recent years is to take Tammuz (starting from that initiative in Brazil) and expand it beyond Israel to places where surrogacy was less common and less known. We’ve done this in many countries around the world, and today, Tammuz is a recognized name for surrogacy in many nations. We are proud and delighted about that. Currently, babies born through Tammuz are living in 36 countries around the world, from the last count, and that’s incredibly moving. Every day, at least one baby is born and becomes part of a family somewhere across the globe. Helping parents start families is our mission, and today, the concept of surrogacy has become much more widespread in many countries. While we are physically present in 15 countries, we are providing services in even more countries worldwide, and we see ourselves expanding in this aspect as well.
Tammuz is celebrating 15 years of activity. How do you feel as Tammuz reaches this milestone?
Absolutely, we are celebrating 15 years of Tammuz – it’s an exciting period and a milestone in the company’s existence. The thought that we’ve assisted in creating so many families over the past fifteen years, with more than 1,500 children already born and over 1,000 on the way, fills me with pride at the difference we’re making. We’re celebrating these 15 years with our parents, the families we’ve helped form, and I hope this marks the beginning of another amazing fifteen years, if not more. There are many more families who would benefit from surrogacy around the world, and we want to ensure they know about this opportunity to start a family.
Do you have any new plans for the future of Tammuz?
There are many plans for the future. For example, we want to expand to more countries, including in Asia. We want to bring the concept of surrogacy to more countries, helping people create families across the globe. This includes heterosexual couples, singles and gay families, which is a concept that might be taken for granted in Israel but is less common in other countries. We’re proud to be part of raising awareness and acceptance of surrogacy and of gay families in those regions.
We also plan to develop new areas such as egg donation and sperm donation, and we plan to set up more clinics worldwide. Tammuz already has a network of clinics in India, which we plan to expand further. Tammuz has been growing and expanding over the past 15 years, and we take immense pride in that. Despite being a large organization today, we’re committed to maintaining the family focused culture of Tammuz. For example, in the workplace at Tammuz we emphasize a sense of family within our team, and also with our intended parents who we want to feel like part of the Tammuz family. While plans are endless, we will always keep a close connection with our clients.
What does a typical day in your life look like as a CEO and father?
A typical day is quite busy! I begin the day taking the kids to school, and then I head to the office. Although sometimes the team work from home, usually we are together in the office as this job relies on close connections between people. My work days are varied – and once I’ve taken phone calls, attended in-person and Zoom meetings, and discussed priorities and next steps with our teams worldwide, the day flies by. As well as that, there are many decisions to make – and one of the key things I need to do is communicate with the team and with our partners and intended parents. It’s vital that everyone is on the same page and fully informed.
Many days come with a fair share of tension because there’s a lot at stake. We are entrusted with the responsibility of creating families, a complex and long process that involves more than a thousand intricate processes we manage simultaneously every day. So there is a lot happening, and many on-the-spot decisions that need to be made. As a result, there are both good moments and challenging ones. The job isn’t easy, but it’s incredibly fulfilling.
Of course, I prefer days with more positive news, but I always keep the bigger picture in mind. Even on tough days, I remind myself of our mission and purpose. I view each situation from a broader perspective.
After work, my time is dedicated to my children. It’s extremely important to me to ensure that the demands and stress of my work don’t affect them. I make a conscious effort to separate the two domains.
My job is around the clock, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Things can happen at any hour of the day, so there’s never a moment when I put my phone on silent mode. I need to be available all the time while also prioritizing quality time with my children. Balancing both aspects is not easy, but I hope that I’m doing my best and succeeding. However, I do find it quite challenging to integrate the two at times.
Now, after eight years as a CEO, I’m better at finding that balance. I think that my children would agree with me!
To people who are interested in going through the surrogacy process,
what do you have to say to them?
To people thinking about becoming parents, I would say: you are embarking on the most meaningful, significant, and emotional journey of your lives. It’s important to understand that the surrogacy process (and parenthood itself), is not always easy or straightforward. It’s like a rollercoaster of emotions, with better moments and tougher ones, but at the end of the process, every moment will have been worth it. It’s crucial to enter this process with patience and an open heart, accepting that you won’t always have complete control over things. Often, things won’t be within your grasp, and that’s exactly why we are here.
We’ll be there to hold your hand, and guide you through the process until you achieve the dream that led you to embark on this journey of starting a family. So, go ahead! Let’s set out on this path together.
Thank you Roy, for dedicating your precious time to this interview.
We wish you tremendous success in the future and a lot of joy from your children.
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