No automatic grant of maternity leave for surrogate mothers: Govt

surrogate-mothersSurrogate mothers in government of India service are not automatically eligible for maternity leave and leaves are granted on a “case to case” basis, according to a statement by the government.

Leaves have been granted in a few cases “taking the totality of circumstances into mind,” the government added.

Surrogate mothers refers to those women who are carrying a child conceived out a donor’s egg.

Typically, the fetus inside a pregnant woman is created by the fertilization of her egg by sperm cell. This fertilization can happen naturally during sex or can be done artificially – either outside the woman’s body in a test-tube, or inside her body by injecting the sperm.

In case of artificial, or in-vitro fertilization, an egg is taken from the woman’s ovary and fertilized with a sperm cell in a test tube. This fertilized unit is later deposited back inside the woman’s body. In case of surrogate mothers, the egg is obtained not from their ovary, but from that of a donor.

As a result, the child is not genetically related to the surrogate mother.

Surrogacy is resorted to in various cases, but mostly because the original mother (donor of the egg) is physically not able to sustain a pregnancy due to health reasons. There are also cases where women resort to surrogacy to avoid the pain of giving birth and to retain their ‘youth’.

The government did not clarify what criteria is used to determine whether a woman can be given maternity leave in case she is a surrogate mother.

Some believe that surrogate mothers should not be given any maternity benefits as they are not carrying their own child and is doing it for someone else.