No maternity leave for women using surrogates: EU top court

March 18, 2014

Women who use surrogate mothers to have a child do not have a legal right to maternity leave when the baby is born, the European Court of Justice ruled on Tuesday.

The European Union's highest court said EU "law does not establish a right to paid leave equal to or adoption leave" for women having a by a surrogate.

At the same time, EU member states are free to apply more accommodating rules if they choose to do so, it added.

The court was considering two cases: one of a British woman who could not get pregnant and had a child, fathered by her husband but carried by another woman and using another woman's egg.

The husband and wife were subsequently given full parental rights over the child with the consent of the .

In the second case, a woman in Ireland who was fertile but had no uterus, used a surrogate mother in California. She and her husband were the child's full biological parents and recognised as such under US law.

In both cases, however, when the women asked for maternity leave so as to look after their babies, their employers turned them down on the grounds that neither had gone through a pregnancy or adopted their children.

Reviewing the cases against EU legislation on conditions for working mothers, fair treatment and physical handicap, the court said it could find no grounds to say that such a refusal of maternity leave breached EU law.

The relevant 1992 law stated that maternity leave must be granted to a "who has been pregnant and who has given birth to a child," it noted.

Explore further: US court rules lesbian egg donor has parent rights

Related Stories

US court rules lesbian egg donor has parent rights

November 7, 2013
The Florida Supreme Court has ruled that a woman who donated an egg to her lesbian partner has parental rights to the child, and on Thursday it ordered a lower court to determine custody and visitation rights.

Longer maternity leaves lower women's risk of postpartum depression

December 12, 2013
The more leave time from work that a woman takes after giving birth—up to six months—the better protected she will be from experiencing post-partum depression, according to a study led by Dr. Rada K. Dagher, assistant ...

Genetic mother wins surrogacy lawsuit in Ireland

March 5, 2013
The genetic mother of twins born through a surrogate pregnancy has defeated the Irish government in a landmark lawsuit and won the right to be declared the mother on the children's birth certificates.

Low-birth Greece takes a further hit from crisis

April 21, 2013
In a nursery of a private maternity hospital in Athens, three mothers feed their newborns while another three babies nap nearby. The room has only a few cots, and yet a number lie empty.

Does mum have the final say? New study reveals confusion in maternity care

May 2, 2013
(Medical Xpress)—A study from The University of Queensland has highlighted the tension doctors and midwives experience when supporting women's right to decide what happens to them and their babies.

Recommended for you

Schoolchildren who use e-cigarettes are more likely to try tobacco

August 17, 2017
Vaping - or the use of e-cigarettes - is widely accepted as a safer option for people who are already smoking.

Study shows cigarette makers shifted stance on nicotine patches, gum

August 17, 2017
The use of nicotine patches, gum, lozenges, inhalers or nasal sprays—together called "nicotine replacement therapy," or NRT—came into play in 1984 as prescription medicine, which when combined with counseling, helped ...

In a nutshell: Walnuts activate brain region involved in appetite control

August 17, 2017
Packed with nutrients linked to better health, walnuts are also thought to discourage overeating by promoting feelings of fullness. Now, in a new brain imaging study, researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) ...

Federal snack program does not yield expected impacts, researchers find

August 17, 2017
A well-intentioned government regulation designed to offer healthier options in school vending machines has failed to instill better snacking habits in a sample of schools in Appalachian Virginia, according to a study by ...

Energy dense foods may increase cancer risk regardless of obesity status

August 17, 2017
Diet is believed to play a role in cancer risk. Current research shows that an estimated 30% of cancers could be prevented through nutritional modifications. While there is a proven link between obesity and certain types ...

Technology is changing Generation smartphone, and not always for the better

August 16, 2017
It's easy to imagine some graybeard long ago weighing in on how this new generation, with all its fancy wheels, missed out on the benefits of dragging stuff from place to place.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.