Reproductive medicine and child’s rights in Japan

Protected by guidelines, anonymously or disclosed, sperm cannot be produced from cells in the testis that are divided by treatment method. A 55-year-old man from Chiba Prefecture discussed with his wife and decided to receive sperm donation from an anonymous other person.

He tried artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization 30 times, and his wife had a miscarriage in the 8th week of pregnancy. After 14 years of treatment, he had the eldest son. The small weight of life he felt on his arms swore that he would “protect only this child… “

In Japan, there is no system that guarantees the right of a child born in assisted reproductive technology through a third party to know, and the facts are left to the parents’ intentions. Under these circumstances, there are movements by medical institutions to create guidelines and protect the rights of children.

The “Japan Assisted Reproductive Technology Standardization Organization” (JISART), which is created by 30 clinics that provide assisted reproductive technology, formulated guidelines for in vitro fertilization between non-spouses in 2008. It is stipulated that the child can request the medical facility to disclose the donor’s personal information when he / she is 15 years old or older, and that the medical facility manages the donor information for 80 years from birth in principle. Based on this guideline, 57 children were born at 6 facilities from March of the same year to March 2019. Most of the eggs and sperms were donated by relatives and acquaintances, and some by cooperating organizations.

One of the six facilities, “Hiroshima HART Clinic” (Hiroshima City), promotes understanding of the right to know the origin through counseling to parents. It is recommended that you tell the facts of your birth in your daily life from an early age, such as by introducing a picture book about a child born by a donor and her family. Yuka Minami, the reproductive psychology counselor in charge, said, “I was confident that my parents did not feel guilty about the treatment I chose, and I faced it from an early age so that my child could feel that he was born as desired. I want you to do it. “

However, JISART’s guidelines are limited to in vitro fertilization between non-spouse. Regarding AID, the Japan Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology (Nissan Women) stipulates that it is “anonymous” for the purpose of protecting the privacy of donors, and JISART, which all member facilities register with Nissan women, are subject to the guidelines.

Who is the genetic parent? The reality is that the right to know the origin is divided according to the treatment method.

The NPO “OD-NET” (Kobe City) mediates between volunteer donors and those who want to receive the benefits, and connects them to some facilities that are members of JISART. The corporation will include “a sufficient understanding of the right to know the origin” in the conditions for donor registration. However, due to the small number of facilities and the high hurdles for donor registration, only four children have been born since the establishment in October 2012, and the new registration of the recipients is currently suspended.

Just as a child cannot know its genetic parent, there is no mechanism for donors to access information about the child born. Sachiko Kishimoto (55), the representative, said, “Some donors want to be relieved to know that the child born of their own egg is growing well. While focusing on the child’s right to know, he also defends the donor’s position. A system that can do it is desirable. “


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