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No Maternity Leave For Mother Of Twins Born To Surrogate

No Maternity Leave For Mother Of Twins Born To Surrogate

The War on Women is alive and well in the UK as well as the US.

Jane Kassim, a teaching assistant from Rotherham, England, whose twin babies were carried by her cousin, has been told she is not entitled to maternity pay because her children were born through surrogacy.

Kassim learned at age 15 that she would never be able to become pregnant because she was born without a womb. Her cousin Amy Bellamy volunteered to help last year after finding out that Kassim, now 30, and her husband Adis wanted to become parents. Bellamy agreed to be their surrogate, The Telegraph reports.

Bellamy gave birth to Kassim’s girls, Isla Jane and Ivy May, through caesarean section last month. And that’s when Kassim learned that  she was not entitled to maternity or statutory pay like normal mothers and even those who adopt.

According to the Telegraph, Kassim has only been offered 13 weeks of unpaid leave -– most mothers in the U.K. are entitled to 52 weeks (one whole year). “Under current law people like me don’t have the maternity rights that mothers who give birth themselves or women who adopt are entitled to,” she told the paper.

Why Kassim Isn’t Entitled To The Same Rights As Other New Mothers

The twins were conceived through IVF treatment using Kassim’s fertilized eggs, but her Member of Parliament John Healey has stepped in to close the ‘legal loophole’ which does not allow her maternity rights.

Healey has taken on Kassim’s case and is trying to find a “legal loophole” for all mothers who use surrogates. Healey introduced a new bill under the “Ten Minute Rule” (a process used that enables members to introduce legislation in Parliament). The bill would make leave, pay and allowance arrangements for parents of children born to surrogate mothers equal to those available to parents whose children are born to them.

Kassim said she was ‘stunned’ when she learned she did not have the same maternity rights as normal mothers. “When I enquired I was told I wasn’t entitled to any kind of maternity leave or pay apart from 13 weeks parental leave which would be unpaid,” she told The Daily Mail.

All New Mothers Should Be Entitled To Maternity Leave

Surrogate births may be still relatively uncommon in Britain, but the number is growing rapidly as society changes and science advances. I can attest to this personally as the proud great-aunt of two beautiful girls, both born through surrogacy. To deny these mothers their maternity leave, something which Britain is justly proud of, is wrong.

Jane Kassim is entitled to the same rights as any other new mother. The law needs to change so that mothers like her who have their children born through surrogates have the same rights as any other mothers who give birth themselves or indeed who adopt children.

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70 comments

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9:59AM PDT on Apr 25, 2012

It's a legal loophole, and it's being dealt with. Surrogacy probably wasn't anticipated at the time the legislation was drawn up.

There have been cases where the surrogate mother, having given birth, then refuses to part with the child (having, not surprisingly, bonded with it during the 9 months gestation). Not sure where the law stands in such cases.

10:11PM PDT on Apr 23, 2012

wow, that is SO WRONG! maternity leave isn't just about carrying the baby, it's about adjusting to life with the baby after it comes into this world. the new infant needs its mother now more than ever and for a mother not to be granted maternity leave b/c she didn't actually carry the child is absolutely preposterous!!

12:04PM PDT on Apr 23, 2012

Wow 52 weeks paid leave in the UK. America sucks we only get 12 weeks and it's unpaid.

6:28AM PDT on Apr 23, 2012

This is an anomaly in the law, not an issue when the law was first drafted. A five minute bill takes care of the loop hole quickly and simply and without the problem of lengthy parliamentary debate. That is the point of the 'five minute' legislation. As far as I can tell everyone (other than the Daily Mail natch) is handling this issue quickly, simply and properly. So what is your point again?

5:47AM PDT on Apr 23, 2012

Thanks

5:40AM PDT on Apr 23, 2012

The purpose of maternity leave is to allow the mother to take care of the infant, not recover from the delivery. This ruling is of no sense.

3:20AM PDT on Apr 23, 2012

I think it is slightly unfair to treat this as a war against women. When the legislation was put together - and we have very clear leave, benefit and job protection arrangements in the UK for maternity, paternity and adoption - this technicality was probably not envisaged. After all, this is half way between maternity and adoption, but not, strictly speaking, either. When the legislation was updated not long ago, there would have been a consultation and it appears that this was not raised as a concern then either.

It is certainly not the employer's fault, as the normal regulations are very clear that everything must be done exactly by the book and so there is no scope for giving benefits here. On the other hand, there is a clear moral and logical case for doing so and it is important for the scope of the legislation to be extended, as there is a woman who has given birth who needs to have time to recover and a woman looking after two small babies that need care.

Perhaps an "emergency" grant could be given in this case to cover the financial aspect, but the employment protection is another matter and would have to be down to the goodwill of the employer.

2:29AM PDT on Apr 23, 2012

This is OUTRAGEOUS... 'maternity leave' is about MOTHERHOOD care for newborn babies!!!
Thus SHE SHOULD BE GIVEN APPROPRIATE PAY!!! while she is tending to her newborn babies!!! Maternity is NOT just about bearing children, but ALSO the care that is relevant just after BIRTH even if the surrogate mother is NOT there, but the caretaker mother IS there to TEND TO HER BABIES!!!
The STATE cannot DEFINE and DIVVY up MOTHERHOOD to suit their WHIMS... it is the TENDING MOTHER(S) involved that MATTERS.
Not only is this pay withholding stupidity ANTI-MOTHER, it is ANTI-WOMEN, and ANTI-FAMILY!

2:06AM PDT on Apr 23, 2012

How do they justify that?

5:43PM PDT on Apr 22, 2012

Let her have her break. She has two twins to care for.

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Judy Molland An award-winning writer and teacher, Judy Molland is also an avid hiker, backpacker, and nature... more
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