Rights for Intended Parents – SUK Lodges Claim The High Court

Rights for Intended Parents – SUK Lodges Claim The High Court

We are delighted to announce that on 19 September 2012, SUK submitted a claim to the High Court highlighting the discrimination of Intended Parents as a result of the lack maternity rights afforded to them. We are calling for a judicial review to change the law to give mothers of surrogate babies the same employment rights as in any other pregnancy.

The law as it stands today…and why we believe it needs changing
We believe the current Equality and Employment Rights acts are not adequate for Intended Parents. We’ve made this claim as a leading surrogacy organisation in the UK, reflecting our responsibility to promote and protect the interests of our members and all others involved in surrogacy.

There simply can be no reason to treat parents of children born via surrogacy at all differently than any other parent looking after a new-born. In surrogacy there remains the same absolute need to provide care as in any other pregnancy. The Government has a responsibility to ensure that all parents have rights to a family life and the best possible start for their child. We hope that through bringing this claim to the court, parents of children born via surrogacy can be considered equal to those born in any other pregnancy and certainly alongside the rights afforded to adoptive parents.

Currently, maternity leave is triggered by being pregnant and allows a mother to take up to 52 weeks leave with maternity pay guaranteed up to 39 weeks paid. It is an absolute right available to all pregnant women from 11 weeks before the expected due date. Adoption leave is triggered by an adoption agency matching prospective adopters and a placement date being agreed. Adoption leave allows an adopter to have up to 52 weeks leave and adoption pay guaranteed for up to 39 weeks.

Both of these are recognised as protected leave‚ and as such it is not just the right to leave and guaranteed pay these parents receive, it is also added protection in redundancy situations.

The only rights a parent of a child born via surrogacy has is discretionary parental leave. This is however only available after a parental order is granted which is usually many months to a year after the baby is born. Parental leave is unpaid, unprotected, is not guaranteed and can be postponed by an employer if they believe there is a good business reason.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank Leigh Day & Co for representing SUK and their forming of this claim against the Secretary of State for Work & Pensions.

If you need further advice…
If anyone has suffered a disadvantage in the workplace due to your surrogacy, please make contact with the Executive Committee (committee@surrogacyuk.org) or make a post in this thread. We strongly recommend that you make contact with SUK before any discussion with the media, as we are able to advise on the most effective way of coordinating the messages. If you need any further advice on your legal rights we suggest you contact natalie@nataliegambleassociates.com. Natalie is the UK’s leading fertility lawyer and supports SUK on surrogacy law.

We’ll of course keep you updated throughout the process, with information provided at this thread on our message boards.

Steve Holford
Chairman, Surrogacy UK

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