Jane Kassim, a teaching assistant from the UK, was born without a uterus and never had a chance to become pregnant. She and her partner decided to choose parenthood with the help of Jane's cousin, who acted as a surrogate mother for her twin babies. Jane was ecstatic to become a mother, but shocked to find out that unlike other moms, including adoptive moms she would not be entitled to paid maternity leave!
Jane and her family have spoken to their member of parliament, John Healey, who is now lobbying for a change in the law. He said: "There are probably about 100 children born in this country each year by surrogate mums. The number is growing, society is changing and the law needs to catch up. Maternity rights are there to help mothers and their newly born babies through the earliest months of the child's life, when time together is most needed."
Jane has managed to come to an arrangement with her employer in the meantime, but was initially told that she would only be able to get 13 weeks of unpaid parental leave... which she argued simply wasn't enough to bond with her new twin daughters. Jane Kassim explained: "When I inquired 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. Obviously no one can live on that and you need time to bond with your children as well and I need longer than 13 weeks to do that. Under current law people like me don't have the maternity rights that mothers who give birth themselves or woman who adopt are entitled to."
The rights of parents who had babies through a surrogate mother were already discussed in the European Court of Justice as well, because a woman sued her employer for the same reason. Hopefully, Jane's case will lead to a law change so that parents in Britain won't have to face this problem again in the future.