South Yorkshire maternity pay row after surrogacy

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A woman whose twin daughters were carried by her cousin is fighting for maternity rights for mothers of children born through surrogacy.

Jane Kassim was born without a womb and her cousin Amy Bellamy, 26, agreed to help her to have children.

Isla Jane and Ivy May were conceived through IVF treatment using Mrs Kassim's eggs and were born last month.

Mrs Kassim, 30, a teaching assistant from Rotherham, South Yorkshire was not entitled to any maternity leave.

She negotiated leave with the primary school where she works to spend time with her newborn daughters.

She is now campaigning for better rights for people like her, as current laws gives no entitlement to either maternity leave or statutory maternity pay for people who have children through a surrogate.

'Legal loophole'

Local MP John Healey is taking the campaign to Parliament to try to close the "legal loophole".

The Labour MP for Wentworth and Dearne said: "Maternity rights are to help mothers and their newly born babies through the earliest months of the child's life, when time together is most needed.

"Mums whose babies are born through surrogates need this support just like any other new mother.

"There is strong support from MPs of all parties for the bill, which I hope the government will also back."

A spokesman for Rotherham Borough Council said: "Clearly we would welcome any changes to legislation which would benefit families and children."

An online petition backing the campaign has collected more than 1,400 signatures.

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