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

Sugar not so sweet for mental health

July 27, 2017
Sugar may be bad not only for your teeth and your waistline, but also your mental health, claimed a study Thursday that was met with scepticism by other experts.

Could insufficient sleep be adding centimeters to your waistline?

July 27, 2017
Adults in the UK who have poor sleep patterns are more likely to be overweight and obese and have poorer metabolic health, according to a new study.

Vitamin E-deficient embryos are cognitively impaired even after diet improves

July 27, 2017
Zebrafish deficient in vitamin E produce offspring beset by behavioral impairment and metabolic problems, new research at Oregon State University shows.

The role of dosage in assessing risk of hormone therapy for menopause

July 27, 2017
When it comes to assessing the risk of estrogen therapy for menopause, how the therapy is delivered—taking a pill versus wearing a patch on one's skin—doesn't affect risk or benefit, researchers at UCLA and elsewhere ...

Blowing smoke? E-cigarettes might help smokers quit

July 26, 2017
People who used e-cigarettes were more likely to kick the habit than those who didn't, a new study found.

Brain disease seen in most football players in large report

July 25, 2017
Research on 202 former football players found evidence of a brain disease linked to repeated head blows in nearly all of them, from athletes in the National Football League, college and even high school.

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.