Woman who had a baby using a surrogate claims her human rights have been breached because she has not been allowed to have maternity pay
- ‘I am just like any other parent of a newborn and my son and his needs are the same as any other baby’
PUBLISHED: 08:19 EST, 23 September 2012 | UPDATED: 02:27 EST, 24 September 2012
A woman is fighting for the right to get maternity pay despite having a baby using a surrogate mother.
She is taking Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, to the High Court claiming her human rights are being breached.
The woman, from Kent, says that even though she did not give birth to her son she is entitled to paid leave to look after and bond with him.
She told the Sunday Times: ‘Having my son via surrogacy does not change the fact that I want to and need to be there to care for him and bond with him in the early months of his life.
‘I am just like any other parent of a newborn and my son and his needs are the same as any other baby.’
The mother, to be named as RKA in court documents, says she ‘feels judged’ for her inability to have a child naturally.
Her case is being brought at the same time as a legal challenge from Surrogacy UK which wants a judicial review of regulations barring maternity pay to mothers who use surrogates.
There are now about 140 surrogate births every year and the numbers are rising.
Currently, surrogates are paid a maternity allowance and given leave while in adoption cases, the birth and legal mothers are guaranteed pay up to 39 weeks and can take 52 weeks leave.
In the case of RKA , a medical problem meant she could not carry a baby, so the couple had IVF treatment and then embryos were implanted in a surrogate in September last year.
Her company reportedly said it was not legally required to give her paid leave or time off, when she asked about her benefits. They offered her 52 weeks unpaid leave.
In May, she contacted her employers about coming back to work, but was made redundant two months later.
She missed out on payment protection because her unpaid leave did not count in the same way as maternity and adoption leave.
RKA’s lawyer Merry Varney told the Sunday Times: ‘We hope that through bringing these cases parents of children born via surrogacy can be considered equal to those fortunate to have a family through natural birth.’