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Think its easy claiming UIF benefits while you are on maternity leave?

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Here we go again, another high court application for a surrogacy. You think it would get easier but it is still invading my privacy, draining my bank account and angering me that I have to be analysed by a shrink to say I’m fit to be a parent.

Really, if you want to know if someone will be a great parent – is someone who spends an hour (or less) with them really qualified to write a letter to say that they are sane and loving towards each other…and fit to be parents? Do people that fall pregnant naturally have to go to a court or shrink and prove that they are fit to be parents before falling pregnant or be allowed to take home their kid?

To top this all off have you ever looked at a UIF form for maternity? Did you know that there is a form for natural birth mothers and adoptive parents – but not for parents through surrogacy? If your doctor is a horrible person like ours was, he won’t sign the form that says you gave birth (even if your surrogate mom did) and because you didn’t adopt your own kid you also cannot use the form for adoptive parents.

This leaves you right in the middle of nowhere – ask me.

I have now appealed through the minister of the Dept. of Labour to have a form instated for parents through surrogacy, amendment of the UIF maternity laws and training for their staff.

The surrogacy laws in South Africa changed in 2010 and states that a child born through surrogacy “belongs” from the very beginning to the commissioning parents (hubby and me). Our names go on the birth certificate that is the end of it.

The children’s act states that all children should be able to bond with their main caregiving parent (mom, dad or gay day – doesn’t matter). All main caregiving parents are entitled to 4 months maternity leave – this includes gay couples as there was a court verdict in 2015 that reiterated the importance of the child’s needs above all.

Getting back to my struggles with claiming maternity UIF…

I went on maternity leave in October 2016 and nobody bothered to notify me (or answer phones at the UIF offices) that they don’t know what to do with my application – and that everyone was too scared to take it on. So I marched myself down there and did my normal “Really, this discrimination ain’t gonna fly with me” bit. I drove off and parked my little car at home while trying not to burst into a ball of flames.

I got to my laptop and that’s when I decided – I will fight for parents through surrogacy to get the same treatment as other moms – and have our own damn forms. If I have to pay my surrogate out of my own pocket so she can go on maternity leave, I also deserve paid maternity leave from UIF.

UPDATE 3/8/2017

The Department of Labour after my appeal are still asking for an adoption certificate! They cannot understand that there is a law that says I don’t need to…

No adoption procedures are required in respect of the child/children to be born of the surrogate motherhood agreement in terms of Section 297(1)(a) of the Children’s Act, together with the provisions of paragraphs 2 and 3;

Back to the high court application…

We are doing it again, there is a frozen embryo and if that results in a surrogacy pregnancy I’m done with fertility treatments. I cannot stomach another round of treatments and injections into my stomach – it has been 4 years of hell and pain.

If the embryo doesn’t make it, it is back to treatments – again and again and…

I am a Johannesburg based freelance writer, social media manager - and of course share bits from my life with you on this blog. We have 2 kids through surrogacy and 3 black cats.

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