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Mother denied maternity leave as children born to surrogate


Picture posed

Picture posed

Picture posed

A TEACHING assistant whose twin daughters were carried by her cousin has been told she is not entitled to maternity rights because her children were born through surrogacy.

Jane Kassim was born without a womb and her cousin Amy Bellamy, 26, agreed to help fulfill her dream to have children of her own.

Amy gave birth by Caesarean section to Isla Jane and Ivy May but Jane was stunned when she was told she wasn't entitled to maternity leave or the statutory pay even though women adopting children have these rights.

Now her local MP John Healey has stepped in and is campaigning in Westminster to close the "legal loophole" to give mothers of children born through surrogacy the same entitlement as others.

The twins were conceived through IVF treatment using Jane's and were born last month in Rotherham General Hospital. Isla Jane weighed in at 5lb 4oz while Ivy May weighed 4lb 7oz and both are doing well.

Amy, with the support of her husband Stephen, from Rawmarsh, Rotherham, who have a four year old son, agreed to become her surrogate after learning that Jane, 40 and her husband Adis were looking into private surgery and IVF.

Said Jane, from Rotherham, who was told when she was 15 that she would never be able to have children: "I was stunned when I learned I didn't have the rights of other mums because my girls were born through surrogacy.

"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.

"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."

Said Mr Healey, Labour MP for Wentworth and Dearne said: "I wasn't aware that mothers whose children are born through surrogacy aren't entitled to maternity rights until Jane contacted me.

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.

"Mums whose babies are born through surrogates need this support just like any other new mother. I want to introduce legislation to close the legal loophole that means such mums don't have these rights like those giving birth themselves or adopting automatically have."

A spokesman for Rotherham Council said: "As Mr Healey points out, under the current legislation there is no right to maternity leave or maternity pay for those who have children via a surrogate mother.

"This is in contrast to situations, for example, where people adopt children. Clearly we would welcome any changes to legislation which would benefit families and children."