BY backing a Rawmarsh woman who became a surrogate for her sister, Dearne MP John Healey has won changes to the Parental Rights Bill.
Mr Healey took up the case of Jane Kassim, 30, whose cousin Amy Bellamy from Rawmarsh bore her twins. Their predicament, after Mrs Kassim was refused maternity leave, spurred the MP to back the women in their bid for full maternity rights.
Now they are celebrating after hearing that the Government has agreed to make changes to the Parental Rights Bill.
Teaching assistant Jane was told at 15 that she would never carry a child, but now she has two daughters thanks to 26-year old Amy, who conceived Isla Jane and Ivy May through IVF.
Amy was supported throughout by her husband Stephen. The couple have a young son.
Mrs Kassim said her daughters were the “most wonderful gift in the world” after they were born in March this year, but her experience highlighted the difficulties that surround surrogacy.
Although Mrs Kassim was allowed to take leave from the school where she works, she was not entitled to maternity leave.
Mr Healey shared her concern that to date, mothers who have their children through a surrogate have had no entitlement to maternity leave or statutory maternity pay, even though they are biological parents.
He brought a Ten Minute Rule Bill in the Commons to close the legal loophole and allow mums by surrogates the same rights as parents who give birth or adopt.
Mr Healey said: “Mums whose babies are born through surrogates need this support just like any other new mother.”