European Journal of Law Reform

Article

Care in Family Relations

The Case of Surrogacy Leave

Keywords EU law, case law, surrogacy, leaves, reconciliation of work
Authors Dr. Susanne Burri
Author's information

242140 Dr. Susanne Burri
Dr. Susanne Burri is Associate Professor at the School of Law of Utrecht University and specialist co-ordinator for gender equality law of the European network of legal experts in gender equality and non-discrimination.
  • Abstract

      The advance of reproductive technologies, like surrogacy arrangements, confronts courts with new demands and dilemmas. This contribution analyses the potential of EU law towards a better and more balanced reconciliation of work, private and family life when no national law applies. In two recent cases of the Court of Justice of the EU on leave for surrogacy mothers, the Advocates General Kokott and Wahl published diverging opinions on similar prejudicial questions of national courts. These opinions illustrate some difficulties in applying the EU concept of equality and interpreting the scope of relevant EU law on leaves. The Court followed a cautious approach, which is not surprising given the lack of consensus on surrogacy arrangements in the member states and their legal implications. Developments in society and technologies in relation to motherhood, fatherhood and parenthood give rise to new legal questions. However, the existing EU legal instruments in this field were not designed to address questions such as for example surrogacy leave for commissioning mothers and fathers. A modernisation of the EU instruments in the light of societal, technological and legal developments in the member states would provide an opportunity to remedy some gaps in the existing EU legal framework on reconciliation issues. In a society where participation in the labour market of both women and men is increasing and getting more balanced, the need to address care of children, older people and disabled people becomes more urgent.

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