We are delighted that the Sunday Telegraph has reported the case of a woman who is challenging the UK’s discriminatory rules on maternity leave, highlighting this important issue which affects many parents building families through surrogacy. The following article appeared in Sunday’s Telegraph:
A mother who had a baby through a surrogate has launched landmark legal action for the right to paid maternity leave
Her employer refused to give her maternity leave, so she went to an employment tribunal. The woman, who has been allowed to remain anonymous by judges, was refused the leave by her employer when she became a mother. She is suing her employer, alleging sex and maternity discrimination, and has taken her case to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) to decide whether the British laws comply with European Union directives, which could force a change in the rules. The court is expected to make a decision later this year.
An estimated 70 women became mothers through surrogates last year and campaigners say they deserve the same rights as other women.
Natalie Gamble, an expert in fertility law, said that only mothers who were pregnant or those who have adopted are entitled to take maternity leave under the existing rules, which left “a gap” in cases where mothers used surrogates.
Stuart Walne, a spokesman for Surrogacy UK, a support organisation, said the rules created an added “trauma” for these women, who faced disputes over paid leave.
A spokesman for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said that there were no plans to change the law regarding people who have a child through surrogacy.
We hope the case will make a significant difference, although it is unlikely to do so for some time. You can find out more from our website about why surrogacy law in the UK needs changing, and about our campaigning work, as well as about our surrogacy law services.
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