Page last updated at 17:47 GMT, Tuesday, 17 April 2012 18:47 UK

Ten minute rule motion

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Parents of children born to surrogate mothers should be given the same rights to paid leave as other parents, Labour MP and former shadow health secretary John Healey has said.

Introducing a bill under the ten-minute rule in the Commons on 17 April 2012, Mr Healey told MPs: "It is wrong that thousands of mothers who have their own babies or adopt have a legal right to 39 weeks' maternity pay, a right to up to 52 weeks' maternity leave; while others have a right to only 13 weeks' parental leave, unpaid."

New mothers should not be faced with the choice, he said, "of going back to work very quickly, or indeed of giving up their jobs entirely".

He also noted that "such parents cannot put their names on their children's birth certificates, they cannot make decisions about medical treatment for their children until they have a formal parental order in place".

It sometimes took "many months" to obtain a parental order, he complained, calling for the UK to adopt a system of rules in place in some US states, where pre-birth orders are available.

"Surrogate births may still be relatively uncommon - there are probably around 100 born in this way each year, but the number is growing," he said.

"I hope this House will take the first step to closing this legal loophole."

His Surrogate Parents (Leave, Pay and Allowance Arrangements) Bill was given an unopposed first reading, but stands little chance of becoming law due to a lack of parliamentary time.

After the debate on Mr Healey's bill, MPs voted on the timetabling of the next debate, which was consideration of Lords amendments to the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill.

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